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This is a recipe I make for Boxing Day dinner. It is from The Canadian Living Christmas Book. Absolutely Delicious!! This hearty dish from Tuscany starts with a rich chicken and vegetable minestrone that's layered in a casserole with crusty bread, than baked until steaming and tender inside, crusty and golden on top.
- 5 cups chicken stock
- 1 lb skinless chicken breast
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 1 sweet green pepper, diced
- 2 cups chopped green cabbage
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon rosemary
- 1 (19 ounce) can tomatoes, coarsely chopped (undrained)
- 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 (10 ounce) package fresh spinach, chopped
- 1⁄2 cup parsley, chopped
- 1 small zucchini, thinly sliced
- 1 (19 ounce) can white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 8 slices Italian bread or 8 slices French bread, thick slices, stale is better 2-3 days old
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- In large saucepan, bring chicken stock, chicken breasts and bay leaves to boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink inside. Remove chicken and discard bones; dice meat and set aside. Discard by leaves. Keep stock warm.
- Meanwhile, in large skillet, heat 2 tbsp of the oil over medium heat; cook onion, garlic, carrots and celery for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add remaining oil, green pepper, cabbage, thyme and rosemary; cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
- Add vegetable mixture to stock in sauce pan along with tomatoes and pepper; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Add spinach, parsley, zucchini, kidney beans and reserved diced chicken; cook for 5 minutes. Remove 1 cup (250 ml) of the soup and set aside.
- Ladle half of the remaining soup into 24-cup (6L) Dutch oven or casserole; cover with four of the bread slices and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese. Cover with remaining soup; layer with remaining bread. Drizzle reserved soup over top; sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese. (Recipe can be prepared to this point, cooled, covered and refrigerated for up to 24 hours.).
- Bake, covered in 350°F oven for 20 minutes (45 minutes if refrigerated); uncover and bake for 20 minutes longer (45 minutes if refrigerated) or until hot.
- Serve soup in large warmed bowls. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese, if desired.