So, I was out in the garden a week or so ago, and noticed the Swiss chard was still looking good despite some frigid temperatures. Seemed a shame not to use it for something, so I cut a bunch and headed back to the kitchen.
I might have sauteed it in some olive oil with a bit of the home-grown garlic, but the chilly weather, plus a persistent cough, called for a nice pot of soup.
If you, like me, could live quite happily eating soup almost every day, perhaps you'll like this recipe too. I've adapted it from "American Whole Foods Cuisine" by Nikki and David Goldbeck. Quantities can be doubled if you need a larger amount -- since I'm cooking for just the two of us I like making this smaller amount -- enough for some leftovers, but you won't be facing it forever!
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 1 cup dried lentils, rinsed and picked over
- vegetable broth and water, to equal 5 cups*
- 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cups fresh chard, spinach or other leafy green, shredded -- You can substitute 1 cup frozen chopped spinach if fresh is not available
- 1/2 cup small, dried pasta, such as riso, or tubetini -- whole wheat is nice, if available
- 2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
- salt, to taste (I start with 1 teaspoon)
- ground pepper, to taste
In a large soup pot, heat oil and saute vegetables and bay leaf until slightly softened.
Add rinsed lentils, liquids, tomato paste, and bring to a gentle boil -- then lower heat and simmer for about 45 minutes.
Add shredded greens, pasta and salt. Cover, and continue to simmer for an additional 15 minutes or so. Lentils should be tender, and pasta cooked. Add additional liquid if soup appears too dry, but be aware that this should be a thick soup.
Stir in vinegar, and adjust salt/pepper seasonings, if needed. Serve, and enjoy.
*You could, of course, use only water, but flavor will be richer and deeper if you use broth for some of the liquid. I generally use 1 can of College Inn Vegetable broth added to the water to equal 5 cups.