Yum This is such a good soup. Not only is it healthy and packed with lots of vitamins, it's a hearty and very flavorful soup. Absolutely perfect for this cold weather we are in. Plus, it all comes together and cooks rather quickly so you can actually make this on a weeknight and have a great supper in just a little over an hour. And, the nice thing is if you are vegetarian you can replace the chicken broth with vegetable broth or stock.
When you are looking at Swiss Chard you will notice that the stem color varies; some are red and others are yellow. Most all of the vitamins (A, K and C) are in the leaves which is why in cooking the heavy stems are generally discarded. It's a great source of fiber and protein and a highly recommended addition to a healthy diet. Chard is slightly bitter if eaten raw but when it is cooked the flavor mellows. Chard is used widely in Mediterranean cooking and its' roots come from Sicily. It is also used a lot in Arab cuisine and gaining popularity here in the states.
In addition to adding Swiss Chard to a soup you could simply wash it, remove the leafy parts and saute them up in some olive oil with garlic, crushed red pepper flakes and perhaps some leeks as well. It makes a wonderful side vegetable dish.
When you are preparing the ingredients for the soup you can use only the leafy part of the chard, or include part of the stem. Personally I like using part of the stem closest to the leaves. It tastes fine when cooked and adds a nice bright color to the soup.
For the soup:
- 1 bunch Swiss chard - leaves chopped
- 1 - 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
- 8 cups chicken broth
- 1 - 15 oz. can white cannellini beans - rinsed and drained
- 1 medium onion - small dice
- 3 carrots - peeled - small dice
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tbsp. garlic - minced (or tsp. granulated garlic)
- 1 tbsp. each - dried basil and dried parsley
- In a large sauce pot over moderate heat add the olive oil then the diced onions and carrots. Turn the heat down to low and allow the vegetables to release their juices and soften. Stir occasionally.
- Add in the minced garlic, stir and allow to cook for 2 minutes. When the vegetables have soften (it will take about 5 minutes), add in the diced tomatoes and the dried spices and the broth.
- Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.
- Next, add in the cannellini beans and the Swiss chard. Cook covered for 20 minutes then uncover and cook for another 15 minutes to allow some evaporation and concentration of flavors.
- Serve the soup with a nice rustic bread and you have a complete meal.
And for approximately $9.54 you have a large pot of soup. If you eat it for supper and have left overs this soup stores well in the refrigerator for 5-7 days or in the freezer for 3-4 months.