The thing with me is, I'm pretty lazy. I love to cook, but I want to get as much as possible out of my time in the kitchen. This soup/stock combination is great because not only do I end up with a delicious and hearty soup, but I also get vegetable stock for my freezer - and it doesn't cost me a penny extra.
I feel like Sandra Lee right now, with a "Round-Two Recipe." But unlike Sandra, I didn't use any pre-made ingredients (except canned beans), my eyeshadow doesn't match my shirt, and my shirt doesn't match my kitchen decor. ( Actually, I'm not wearing any eyeshadow. I am wearing a shirt, though. Honest.)
Bean and Swiss Chard Soup
1 bunch swiss chard
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 cans white kidney (cannellini) beans, rinsed and drained
2 Tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
2. Prep swiss chard: Fill a bowl with water. Cut stems out of swiss chard, and rough chop the leaves. Place leaves in bowl of water and swish around to remove any dirt. Remove leaves to another bowl. Slice stems on the diagonal in matchstick pieces, rinse in the bowl of water and set aside.
3. When water in pot is boiling, place chard leaves in the pot and cook 2-3 minutes. Remove from the boiling water and drain. Repeat with stems. Leave pot of water on the back burner to make stock (recipe follows).
4. In another large pot or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Saute the garlic in the oil for 1-2 minutes. Add drained beans, and then add water to cover beans by about one inch (or a combination of stock and water if you already have the stock going). Stir.
5. Take about half the bean mixture out of the pan and process in a blender until smooth. Return to pot. Bring bean mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and add the swiss chard. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then allow to simmer for about 5 minutes or until heated through (add a little extra water if needed).
Bonus Vegetable Stock
Water used to blanch swiss chard
1 carrot, cut in 4 or 5 pieces
any veggies on hand such as rough chopped celery, tomato tops, bottom or top of an onion, garlic bits from the garlic press, other greens you may need to get rid of. (Avoid broccoli or any other very strong-flavored vegetables.)
Bring everything to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for an hour. Allow to cool, strain the solids and refrigerate or freeze.