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Southwestern Ribollita

As Thanksgiving fades and Christmas approaches, we’re all filled with the same feelings: “What in the *@!#*! am I going to do with more turkey leftovers?” Let’s face it: turkey sandwiches lose their shine after two or three, and there’s only so much turkey tetrazzini you can pack away before you really don’t want any more.

When Jenn and I went to Italy, on our second day we discovered a soup called “ribollita.” In a nutshell, it’s a hearty soup with a lot of bread in it that has been boiled twice. Like a lot of soups, it’s a way to get rid of some leftovers, and it’s stone soup at the same time–you add those fresh ingredients you think will make your soup better (if you don’t know what stone soup is, google it).

Well, a couple of days ago we were trying to figure out what to do with a few leftovers: turkey, cornbread dressing, gravy and black bean dip we had made, plus a few vegetables that were past their prime. I’m quite pleased with the way this turned out. Frankly, it doesn’t have the “leftover” feel to it that turkey tetrazzini does. I’d almost expect to see something like this at a new American cuisine restaurant.

Southwestern Ribollita

32-48 oz. Chicken Broth
2 Poblanos, diced
Leftover smoked turkey (if you don’t have smoked turkey, roast the poblanos in a skillet, and you might want to try about 1/4 tsp liquid hickory smoke, but don’t over-do it…add 1/8 tsp at a time)
2 medium potatoes
2-3 tomatoes, peeled & diced
3-4 carrots, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
4 celery stalks, chopped
Leftover cornbread dressing (if you don’t have it, make a little cornbread WITHOUT sugar)–don’t add more than two cups, crushed
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lime
6 sprigs cilantro (for soup and garnish)
2 tsp. Cumin
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tbps. Oregano
8-10 grinds of black pepper
1 can corn
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Avocado
Grated monterrey jack cheese
1 cup pureed black beans–we actually used black bean dip, which has sherry, cumin, shallots, garlic: but if you don’t make the bean dip, add:
(1 tsp sherry)

What to do with it:

Sautee your hard veggies (poblano, onion, carrots and potatoes) in olive oil until the onions are translucent, then add the celery and sautee until the potatoes are relatively soft, but still firm.

Squeeze in 1/2 the lime and add everything EXCEPT the avocado, the cheese and the dressing (or cornbread). Cover with lid, boil, then simmer (still covered) 30-45 minutes.

Add the dressing, and bring to a boil again. Simmer another 15-30 minutes.

Dish up into bowls, squeeze a bit of lime juice, add a slice of avocado, a sprinkle of cheese and a couple cilantro leaves. You might also throw a tortilla chip or two into the soup for presentation purposes, or a corn pone if you’ve made cornbread.

Serve with a granache wine (we used a spanish wine, Las Rocas de San Alejandro: Garnacha, 2006 vintage)

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