Put the bread crumbs in a large nonmetallic bowl. Add the chilled chicken broth. Mix. Set in freezer.
Meanwhile, cut the prepared vegetables into chunks and pulse in blender until nearly smooth; there is no need to peel the tomatoes, unless they are so ripe the skin comes off with a knife. Work in batches and empty the puréed vegetables into another bowl. Mixture should not be completely smooth, but retain some texture.
Remove the bread mixture from freezer and process until smooth. Stir in puréed vegetables, tomato juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt and hot sauce to taste. Cover with plastic wrap and chill at least 2 hours, up to 8 hours.
Ladle into into individual bowls, sprinkle with croutons or garnish with chopped vegetables.
Makes 10 to 12 servings.
Recipe editor Patricia Mitchell
Online Since 1997
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