Tuscan Bread Soup

I adore soups! Fun, healthy, and so *many* varieties! I had a loaf of fresh Ciabatta that was not so fresh anymore and I didn't want to waste it. On top of that, when you took a small whiff, well a wonderful aroma that only good bread gives is what I breathed in. How could I possibly not put this to use besides making it into breadcrumbs for dipping fish fillets or Pork Loin Chops into? So Tuscan Bread Soup came to mind. I used my homemade chicken broth that I froze earlier but a regular store bought chicken broth is just as delicious in this recipe. Big cubes of crusty bread is a must along with baking the bread slices to achieve a healthy golden brown color. Presentation ends up being just as beautiful as the flavor and aroma.

4 slices crusty Italian bread, 1 1/2 inches thick
4 T. extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 Large onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
6 c. chicken broth
1/2 c. heavy cream
1 t. minced fresh thyme (or 1/2 t. dried)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 475 degrees. Place bread slices on baking sheet, brush tops with 1 T. oil, and bake until golden brown and crusty, 8 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 3 Tablespoons oil in Dutch oven or heavy pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook until lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add broth, cream, and thyme and simmer until onions are softened, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Cut bread into 1-inch chunks and place in soup bowls. Ladle soup over bread, sprinkle with Parmesan, and drizzle with olive oil. Serve. YUM!


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