Sunday, September 14, 2008

White Bean-Chard Soup with Rosemary Croutons

Even though it is 88 degrees outside for some bizarre reason, it is still sort of autumn and I want to start cooking fall-related foods. This soup smells like fall, tastes like fall, and is perfect for a cold day...not quite a day like today. But we both liked this soup. The swiss chard was a little bit overpowering so if I were to make it again I would either use less of it or I would substitute spinach or something. Maybe kale. I could play around. It was very yummy though - especially the croutons. We would make this again.

Oh! It should be noted that I cheated and bought canned Great Northern Beans. I skipped the lengthy first step, and then I only simmered the soup for about 45 minutes.


White Bean-Chard Soup with Rosemary Croutons
Cooking Light, November 2006

Enjoy half of this comforting soup now, and freeze the other half for a quick meal on a busy day. For best results, prepare the croutons shortly before serving.

1 pound dried Great Northern beans
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped carrot (about 2 medium)
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 rosemary sprig
6 cups water
4 (14-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
6 cups coarsely chopped Swiss chard (about 2 bunches)

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 ounces sourdough bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

Remaining ingredient:
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese

To prepare the soup, sort and wash the beans; place in a large Dutch oven. Cover with water to 2 inches above beans; cover and let stand 8 hours or overnight. Drain beans; set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and carrot; cook 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Increase heat to medium-high. Add wine; cook until liquid is reduced to 1/2 cup (about 5 minutes). Add salt, pepper, and rosemary sprig; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in beans, 6 cups water, and broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 1 hour and 30 minutes or until beans are tender, stirring occasionally. Add chard; cook 15 minutes or until chard is tender. Discard rosemary sprig.

Preheat oven to 400°.

To prepare croutons, combine 2 tablespoons oil and bread; toss to coat. Add chopped rosemary; toss to combine. Arrange bread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 10 minutes or until golden, turning once. Ladle about 1 1/2 cups soup into each of 8 bowls; divide croutons evenly among bowls. Sprinkle each serving with 1 tablespoon cheese.

Yield: 8 servings

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