Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Weather Outside is Frightful: Bean and Red Chard Soup

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The weather's been wet and cold (shocking in San Francisco... can you feel my sarcasm?) so I felt compelled to make soup. Also because it's such a nicely portable food item when you need to bring lunch with you, which I frequently do as a substitute teacher.

I knew that my soup had to use chard because it is the one thing in my Farm Fresh to You box that I always get confused on how to use. I found this recipe on Epicurious--it puts me in mind of a similar soup that my aunt makes which involves sausage. Sadly, this is meat-less, but the chard and the beans and the pasta create a nice sense of bulk and OMG it is delicious.


  • about 1/2 pound (225 g) Swiss chard or kale, trimmed
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt, plus additional to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves or dried
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) olive oil
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled [I minced it and left it in the soup. Double yum.]
  • 1 cup (225 g) cooked small white beans or drained and rinsed canned beans [I used white kidney; next time I'll use smaller ones.]
  • 4 cups (1 liter) chicken stock [or veggie stock for a vegetarian route]
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup (60 g) small shell macaroni or other small pasta [I used flaxseed rotini on the advice of my sister, excellent]
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

  • Preparation

    **FIRST: Get your Mis en place together! This means put things all in the right place, measure out some of those wet ingredients and wash the chard. Good times.**

    the meez

    In a medium saucepan or pot, cook the chard leaves (stems taken off) with at least 1/2 cup (125 ml) water and the salt over medium heat until tender. The chard is done when it turns brighter green. Drain the chard, reserving any liquid that remains. Coarsely chop the chard.

    (The red color from the chard stems leeches into to the water. It kind of hilariously reminds me of cherry Kool-Aid.)

    In a medium saucepan, stir together the oil and garlic over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the garlic is pale gold, about 10 minutes (er, or about 5). Stir in the rosemary. Cook, stirring for 1 minute. Discard the garlic--if you'd like. I think that is ridiculous and kept it in.
    Stir in the chard and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring to thoroughly coat it with the oil.

    Stir in the beans. Cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the reserved cooking liquid and the stock (I had about 2 cuts of chard water along with the chicken stock and that was about perfect). Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and stir in the macaroni. Boil for 6 minutes, or until the pasta is tender. Adjust the seasoning, if necessary.

    Pass Parmesan cheese at the table.

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