It’s really flippin’ hot today, and summer has officially made its presence unwelcomely known. For some reason, I’ve found that on some exceptionally hot days I get a craving for soup. Today’s unhealthily high heat index will likely be followed by an evening thunderstorm, and sitting out on the deck in the humidity and hot storm breezes with an over-sized bowl of a thin broth soup sounds like an awesome set of dinner plans. Usually when I get a midsummer hankering for hot soup, I get heat-lazy and end up calling up the local Vietnamese place and order some veggie pho. But fortunately not today!
In addition to the zucchini I found in my garden yesterday, I found another batch of my rainbow swiss chard was ready for kitchen duty. Soup is pretty much the only thing I know how to make with swiss chard, and other type of recipes I’ve seen out there often call for loads of oil and butter and cooking the chard to death. I really like this recipe because its a lighter way to serve a dark leafy veg, and its perfect for a midsummer’s dinner on the deck.
Chard, White Bean, and Tomato Soup:
- Knives, cutting board, large stock pot with lid, medium bowl, colander, peeler, tea kettle, wooden spoon, stove top
- 4 large tomatoes, cut into wedges
- 1 bunch swiss chard, roughly chopped
- 3 yellow onions, slivered
- 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 celery hearts with leaves, chopped
- 1 cup dried navy beans
- 1/2 cup pearled barley
- 5 cups vegetable stock
- 5 cups water, plus more for bean soaking
- 10 fresh basil leaves, cut into little ribbons
- 1/2 bunch parsley, chopped
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper
- Fill the kettle with water and bring it to a boil. Place the navy beans in a medium bowl and cover with boiling water. Let sit 4-5 hours. Strain with the colander and rinse the beans well.
- Over medium heat, coat the bottom of the stock pot with a thin layer of evoo (~ 2-3 Tbsp). Add the onions to the hot oil and let them cook 2-3 mins and then add the garlic. Cook another 2-3 minutes or until the onions start to soften. Add the celery and carrots. Season the veg with 3 big pinches of salt and hit it with a couple dashes of black pepper. Saute until softened.
- Add the vegetable stock and 5 cups of tap water. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and add the navy beans. Let the navy beans rapidly simmer, covered, for about 30-40 mins, or until softened but not yet cooked through (“al dente” beans?).
- Add the barley, recover and let boil another 15 minutes. Stir well to make sure there isn’t any barley stuck to the bottom of the pot. Add the tomatoes, chard, parsley, and basil. Cover and let simmer another 15-25 mins, stirring every few minutes, until the barley and tomatoes are cooked to your desired doneness. Taste and re-season as needed.