I’m back from the dead, and excited about it! I’ve spent a good week of feeling very sorry for myself and watching the entire contents of Netflix wrapped up in a dressing gown, fancying nothing to eat but the sorts of brown comforting foods of my childhood. Seriously, why is it that baked beans on toast is just the best thing that can possibly happen to you when you’re ill? It’s medicine. Other brown food meals eaten recently include jacket potatoes (with more beans and hunks of cheddar), store-bought tomato soup with bread and butter, scrambled egg, cauliflower cheese, plain pasta… Brown brown brown.
Since recovering, I’ve been, rather strangely, left with only an appetite for soup. Yep, more of the stuff I lived on for a week. Although homemade versions, stuffed full of veg and variety. Comfort food made properly, with real healthy ingredients. I’ve been eating it for every meal, can’t get enough of the stuff. I’ve come up with a recipe for a soup that I really enjoyed, a sort of Italian-esque bread and tomato kind with chickpeas. It’s comforting, subtle. In the final dish, you can taste the nuttiness of the chickpeas, the woody rosemary and fruity olive oil. Of course you also get a hit of tomato and a whiff of garlic.
As with all soup, it’s easy and this one had the added benefit of being largely made up of store cupboard items. So if you are holed up with a wintery bug you could probably make this. I bet it will help bring you back to health. I’ll continue to eat (drink? Do we eat or drink soup, not sure!) this soup by the bucket load all winter to test the theory.
You will need:
Leaves from three sprigs of rosemary
4 banana shallots (or 1 white onion), chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbspn tomato purée
1 tin chickpeas, drained
250g sweet cherry/plum tomatoes
1 tin chopped or plum tomatoes
2 tbspns red wine (optional)
1 stock cube, dissolved in 300ml water
2 average slices of good quality stale white bread, crusts removed and cubed
4 tbspns good extra Virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve
Handful of basil
1 – Heat the oil gently in a deep saucepan and add the rosemary. Fry for a minute then add the onion/shallots.
2 – Cook for a minute or so before adding the garlic and tomato puree. Cook for a further couple of minutes.
2 – Add the tomatoes, bread and wine. Cook for several minutes more then season well. Add the chickpeas, chopped tomatoes, stock and bread.
3 – Simmer for 15 minutes or so then blend well. Check seasoning and gently reheat if necessary.
4 – Use a pestle and mortar to crush the basil leaves with around 3 tbspns more of olive oil. Serve drizzled over the steaming soup.