This is an earthy, unpretentious soup that is just as good at room temperature as piping hot. We have an abundance of chard leaves in our garden at this time of year. It is one of my favourite green vegetables.

50ml/2fl oz extra-virgin olive oil
2 yellow onions, peeled and sliced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 medium dried chilli, crumbled
200g/7oz cooked chickpeas
400g/13oz good-quality tinned tomatoes
200g/7oz young chard leaves
2 slices ciabatta-style bread
Sea-salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place 25ml/1fl oz olive oil in a saucepan large enough to hold all the ingredients over a medium heat. When the oil is warm, add the onions and cook, stirring from time to time, for 10 minutes.

Now add the dried chilli and garlic and cook for a further 5 minutes, seasoning with a little salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the chickpeas, stir to combine and then add the tomatoes. Stir once again and cook over a low to medium heat for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, put a large pot of water on the stove to boil, seasoning generously with salt.

Wash the chard leaves to remove any dirt and, when the water is boiling, add the chard and cook for 3 minutes.

Drain and refresh gently under cold running water (this will stop the cooking process and help the chard to maintain a lovely green colour in the soup). Add the chard to the soup. Break the bread up with your fingers and add bit by bit to the soup; you can add a little water at this point if the soup is overwhelmingly thick.

Once you have added the bread, remove the soup from the stove. Pour in the remaining olive oil. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Let the soup sit in a warm place with the lid on for 10 minutes (this allows the bread to absorb all the lovely flavours from the soup).

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