Fava Bean Soup with Braised Chicory

½ pound (about 1½ cups) dried peeled fava beans (see note)
Cold water, as needed
2 cups chicken stock
1¼ pounds chicory, stem trimmed
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
Freshly ground black pepper

1 (5-inch) piece dense country bread, crust removed

1. Soak the favas in water overnight.
2. Drain the favas (about 4 cups) and transfer to a medium pot. Add the chicken stock and just enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, add 2 pinches salt, and simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour. Add a little water if needed.

3. Submerge the chicory in a cold water-bath. Heat ¼ cup of the oil in a large saucepan. Sauté the garlic until aromatic, about 1 minute. Remove the chicory from the water bath, shake lightly and add it to the pan along with a few pinches of salt. Simmer, covered, over medium-low heat until tender, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and cook for about 5 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Cut the bread into ¾-inch cubes. In a large skillet, heat ¼ cup oil over high. Add the bread cubes and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned. Sprinkle with salt.
5. Using a blender, puree the fava bean mixture until smooth, adding ¼ cup olive oil in a steady stream. Simmer, stirring constantly, until it reaches the consistency of a thick pureed soup. If needed, add water to loosen. Season with salt and pepper.
6. Serve in pasta bowls with the chicory and topped with bread cubes. Serves 4. –Jill Santopietro, for The Boston Globe.

Note: Dried fava beans, which are about $2.99 a pound, are available at most Italian grocers and at www.kalustyans.com