I am always on the lookout for recipes that will use the abundance of swiss chard growing in my fall garden; no matter how much I harvest, there always seems to be more than I can use. Although the consistency is more like a stew than a soup, this recipe is inspired by the sopas de pan from Chiapas, Mexico. Traditional versions of sopa de pan vary from family to family, but the base is always bread, vegetables, and broth.
Bread Soup with Swiss Chard
- 14 ounces day-old rustic bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 cups red onion, sliced thin vertically, from tip to root
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- 1 pound mushrooms, sliced 1/4-inch thick
- 2 bunches swiss chard (10–12 leaves), stems removed and leaves chopped
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 quarts stock (chicken, beef, or vegetable)
- 1 cup + 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Toss the cubed bread with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and sprinkle with garlic salt. Arrange bread on a baking sheet and toast for 20–30 minutes (check often) or until nicely browned.
- While the cubed bread is in the oven, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the butter on medium heat in a large dutch oven. Add onions and stir to coat with the butter and oil. Cook gently, stirring occasionally, for 10–15 minutes or until lightly browned. If onions begin to dry out, lower the heat. Add garlic, cook for one minute more, and remove from heat.
- While onions are browning, heat a large sauté pan on medium-high heat. Add sliced mushrooms and sauté them without any added fat until they release their moisture and are lightly browned. Remove from heat and reserve half the onions.
- Layer half the mushrooms and chard on top of the onions in the bottom of the dutch oven. Put down a layer of half the toasted bread cubes. Add the remaining onions, chard, and mushrooms. Layer the remaining bread cubes on top.
- Mix honey and wine until the honey dissolves. Pour over bread mixture. Pour broth over everything. Scatter the top evenly with 1 cup grated cheese.
- Cover the pot with foil (not the lid) and seal it around the edges. Cut 5 vent holes in the top. Bake in the oven for 1 hour, 15 minutes. Serve immediately and garnish with the additional cheese, pepper, and thyme.