Monday, October 25, 2010

Chard-er Club: White Bean and Chard Soup

Every year, right around this time, I get the uncontrollable urge to make huge batches of soup. Just like the squirrels somehow know that it's time to store up their acorns, and the leaves somehow know to change color (don't try to enlighten me with real science on this topic- you'll waste your breath), I know that I cannot rest until our fridge is crammed full of soup. It's pure instinct- like "fight or flight" (only it's more like "bisque or borscht"). This year, my soup compulsion happened to coincide with the arrival from our organic produce delivery service of a huge bunch of chard. After trolling the Internet for chard soups, I combined elements from a few recipes to create my own delicious Frankenstein monster of a soup recipe with not just chard, but cannellini beans, bacon, pastina, and sage (so, basically all of my favorite things). You'd be hard-pressed to find an easier or quicker recipe (and still be able to call it "cooking"), and it will satisfy all of your soup-making urges. Best of all, this soup is hearty enough to be a whole dinner- just serve with a salad or a crusty roll. Or dinner every night for a week, as JM and I have. My instincts tell me you're going to love it.

You Will Need:
2 white or yellow onions, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 slices smoked bacon (thick-cut, if possible)
12 leaves fresh sage, minced
1 handful fresh parsley, minced (optional)  1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
2 cans cannellini beans, rinsed
10 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 bunches chard (or spinach or other greens will do in a pinch), washed and dried
1/2 cup dried pastina or orzo

freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

What You Do:
Step 1: Finely chop the onions and bacon into no larger than 1/4-inch cubes. Finely mince the garlic.

Step 2: Put onions, garlic, bacon, sage, parsley, nutmeg and pepper flakes into a large saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened, and bacon is mostly cooked, about 5 minutes.

Step 3: Add beans and broth, increase heat to high, and bring to a boil. When soup boils, add pasta and reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for about 5 minutes.

Step 4: Meanwhile, prepare the chard. Remove the woody stems, and chop the leaves into 1-inch squares.

Step 5: Add the chard to the pot, stir and simmer until wilted, about 4 minutes.

Step 6: Dish soup into bowls, and top with Parmesan. Enjoy!


Caroline @ The Feminist Housewife said...

I'm the exact same way! It must be the weather...I am just craving soup! Haha!

This sounds so tasty. I want to try it!

Chloe said...

sounds delish!

squidravioli said...

How do I get over my fear of onions? Just the thought of them make me sick! I'm not kidding.

Lily said...

Just put the last of the soup in the freezer for a last-minute supper sometime down the road. Turns out 4x in one week was JM's limit.

@squidravioli- That's a tough one. I subscribe to the "force yourself" method of curing food fears. For instance, I used to hate pickles so much that I couldn't eat a sandwich that had a pickle on the plate with it. But I forced myself to keep eating pickles all the time, and now I can almost choke down a whole gherkin without bursting into tears. Progress!

squidravioli said...

@Lily-I was hoping there would be a pill I could take lol!

Anonymous said...

Oh, no post again today.