A New Ribollita

Automne 2019
food and drink

BY: Christopher St. Onge

Ribollita is a classic Tuscan harvest soup enriched and thickened with day-old bread. This lighter version leaves out the usual beans and makes use of the bounty at our own local markets. If you don’t already save the rinds from your spent Parmesan, do! Otherwise you can purchase one from cheesemongers if you ask nicely. Chicken bones can be purchased at most full service butchers.

10 cups (2.5 L) water
4 oz (115 g) Parmesan rind
1½ tsp (7 mL) salt
¼ tsp (1 mL) whole black peppercorns
½ small onion, peel left on
2 lbs (905 g) chicken bones
2 leeks, white and light green part only
3 cloves garlic, divided
2 tbsp (30 mL) butter
½ small Savoy cabbage, cored and cut into 2-inch-thick (5-cm) wedges
½ cup (125 mL) dry white wine
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup (60 mL) finely chopped fennel stalk and fronds
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp (5 mL) finely chopped tarragon
6 thick slices sourdough bread, darkly toasted

1 For the chicken and Parmesan broth, combine water, Parmesan rind(s), salt, peppercorns, onion and chicken bones in a large pot over medium heat; bring to a boil, reduce to low and simmer for 2 hours. Strain through a fine mesh sieve; return stock to pot (you should have about 8 cups/2 L). Vigorously boil uncovered for an additional 10 minutes to reduce further and concentrate flavour. Skim as much fat as possible from top and discard; keep broth warm. (Alternatively, make as much as 3 days ahead, leave fat in broth and chill. The solidified fat is easily removed prior to reheating.)

2 Split leeks down the centre lengthwise and clean under running water; slice crosswise. Finely chop 2 cloves garlic.

3 Heat butter in a large skillet over medium-­low heat. Add leeks and garlic to pan and cook, stirring from time to time, until softened (do not let brown), about 6 minutes. Arrange cabbage wedges overtop; pour wine over. Add ½ cup (125 mL) chicken and Parmesan broth, season with salt and pepper. Return to a boil, reduce to low and simmer, covered, for 20 to 25 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

4 Meanwhile, combine fennel stalk, fronds, lemon zest and tarragon in a small bowl. Finely chop remaining clove of garlic and stir to combine; set aside.

5 To serve, arrange a slice of toast in each of 6 soup bowls. Top toasts with an equal amount of vegetables. Divide broth between bowls, pouring over vegetables and toast. Garnish each with a sprinkling of the fennel mixture.


Serves 6

What to Serve