Sunday, January 23, 2011

Day 74: Swiss Chard and White Bean Minestrone

Another recipe from Kitchen Seasons, by Ross Dobson  (See Day 50 post).  This one is EASY and elegant and delicious and the presentation is lovely. It would be a perfect dish for company. It was perfect tonight with the very cold weather.

As usual, I reduced the amount of fat in this recipe. You can add more if you think its necessary.
1 onion
1 bunch Swiss chard (I used red - but I think white would make a prettier soup)
1 quart vegetable broth (I made some yesterday)
1 14 oz can of cannellini beans
4 thick slices of ciabatta bread (we bought a fresh loaf at Trader Joe's this morning)
good olive oil (I've been using Halutza Israeli extra virgin lately)
a glove or two of garlic
salt & freshly ground pepper (I bought some Redmond gourmet kosher sea salt and I am trying that to see if I notice a taste difference - it is very pretty to look at- a pinkish beige with darker brown crystals interspersed, I think I like it - jury is still out)
freshly grated Parmesan cheese

  1.  Remove the long parts of the swiss chard stems and put the greens in a big bowl of cold water to wash - stir them around a bit 
  2. Put the heat on medium under a heavy pot
  3. Peel the onion
  4. Put 1 tsp olive oil into the pot to heat
  5. Chop the onion and add to the pot - set the timer for 5 minutes - stir occasionally
  6. While the onion is cooking - drain & rinse the swiss chard (re-wash if there is a lot of dirt in the water), then remove the center spines from the leaves and chop it into small pieces
  7. When the timer goes off, add the swiss chard to the pot, cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 more minutes
  8. While the swiss chard is cooking, open the can of beans, drain and rinse, measure out the stock
  9. When the timer goes off, add the stock and beans to the pot, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a gentle boil
  10. While the soup is heating, toast the bread slices, rub each slice with a cut piece of garlic, go easy on the garlic for those (like S.) who do not like a lot.
  11. Place a bread slice in each shallow soup bowl, drizzle 1/4 - 1/2 tsp olive oil over the bread, ladle on the soup, letting a little greens and beans pile on top of the middle of the bread. 
  12. Grate a little cheese over the top and serve

We had this as a first course and cooked up a the rest of a bag of Celantano frozen ravioli to go with it, which turned out not to really be necessary, this soup is a meal in itself.

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