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Vegetable and Swiss Chard Stalk Soup and a Giveaway

Please don’t tell me you’re one of those people who buys Swiss chard and throws away the stalks. They’re equally as delicious as the leaves, but many people are in a quandry knowing what to do with them. They make great fritters, something my mom made when we were growing up, (recipe here), but another way to use them is in a vegetable soup — perfect for the fall weather that is descending on us here in the Northeastern U.S.

These are the stalks from some multi-colored Swiss chard my father grew in his garden. Just chop them up into small bits, along with the leaves and follow the recipe below.

After you’ve sautéed the onion and garlic, add all the rest of the ingredients to the pot and let it simmer for about a 1/2 hour to 45 minutes. I also added in some fresh corn, since it was summer when I took these photos and corn flavor was at its peak. Add more liquid (water or chicken stock) to the pot if necessary.

Grate some parmesan cheese over the top and serve with some hearty toasted bread that’s been drizzled with olive oil and salt. Enjoy a healthy and delicious bowl of soup.

And while we’re on the subject of healthy, I received this water pitcher from Shantiva and so can you. Aside from serving water in a beautiful, hand-hammered copper pitcher, drinking from a copper vessel has health advantages too, according to Shantiva’s webpage. Water from a copper pitcher can enhance digestion, decrease the risk of bacterial infection, improve cardiovascular and thyroid health and stimulate the brain, among other things. Who wouldn’t want that? Shantiva has graciously agreed to send one of my readers one of these lovely pitchers. All you need to do is leave a comment on this post (NOT in an email) and tell me what healthy food you like to consume after indulging in what you think is bad eating. And don’t forget to leave a way for me to contact you — whether through email or through a blog you may also write.

Click here to connect with me on Instagram and find out what Ciao Chow Linda is up to in the kitchen (and other places too.

Vegetable and Swiss Chard Stalk Soup and a Giveaway
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 large bunch of Swiss chard, stalks diced and leaves roughly chopped
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 cup of fresh tomatoes, diced (or one small can diced tomatoes)
  • 1 small can cannellini beans
  • 1 cup of green beans, cut into small pieces
  • kernels from two ears of corn (optional)
  • 6 cups either water or chicken broth, or a combination of both
  • a parmesan cheese rind
  • a nice handful of parsley, minced
  • salt, pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Pour the olive oil into a large pot and saute the onion and garlic until soft on low temperature. Do not let them brown. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the green beans and the parsley, and let everything cook together for about ½ hour. If you have fresh corn, add the kernels from that too. Add more water or chicken broth if the soup is too thick.
  2. Add the green beans and cook until they are tender, about ten minutes.
  3. Stir the parsley at the last minute before serving, to get a fresher taste.
  4. Remove the parmesan cheese rind, and serve with grated parmesan and Italian bread that's been toasted and smeared with olive oil and salt.
 

 

 

 

 

 

Ribollita And Vegetable Soup

Ribollita and Vegetable Soup

 I don’t know about you, but my vegetable garden is looking pretty raggedy in these last days of summer. That is, except for the swiss chard and Tuscan kale. They’re the champions of the garden – still going strong and perfect for vegetable soup and ribollita. For the record, the photo above isn’t vegetable soup – it’s ribollita, an Italian word that means re-boiled.  The first time I ordered ribollita in Italy, I was surprised to be served something that was more of a thick, vegetable stew than a liquidy soup. But that’s what it’s meant to be. In an attempt to use every morsel and not waste anything, thrifty Italians took leftover bread and added it to the previous day’s vegetable soup to make something even more hearty. It’s a classic recipe from the region of Tuscany, whose landscapes never fail to enchant.
It’s also one of the easiest and best ways to use up some of those delicious and nutritious fall vegetables you might still have in your garden. Here are the basic ingredients for my soup, whether it’s vegetable soup or ribollita. You can use your imagination and add other ingredients if you like. If you’ve got a leftover parmigiano reggiano rind, throw that in. I always have a few that I’ve saved in the freezer.
Once the pot has simmered for a while, add the beans and it should look like this – a hearty and soul-warming soup to ward off the chill from a brisk fall day. Leftovers freeze well too, so don’t worry about making too much.
Here it is served as a brothy vegetable soup.
And here it is as ribollita, after adding some bread and reheating. Traditional ribollita is much thicker than this, and you can practically have a spoon standing on end inside a deep bowl of it, but this was prepared immediately following the vegetable soup. If you let the bread soak overnight and reheat the next day, it attains the thicker consistency.



Vegetable Soup/Ribollita
Printable recipe here

This isn’t like making a cake where you have to be exact in the quantities, so feel free to change or add/subtract whatever ingredients and quantities you prefer.

1 large onion, minced
6 cloves garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
3 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
swiss chard, about 20 leaves chopped and stalks sliced
Tuscan kale, lacinato kale, dinosaur kale (same thing) – about 16 -20 leaves, chopped up
1/2 savoy cabbage, chopped up
2 small zucchini, chopped
8-10 plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped (canned is fine and you can add more if you like a stronger tomato flavor)
2 14-ounce cannellini beans
1 parmesan cheese rind
16 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
salt, pepper
fresh or dried thyme and basil as you like

a hearty, stale bread for ribollita
olive oil to drizzle on top

Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil until limp. Add all the rest of the ingredients except the beans and simmer for about a half hour. Add the beans and cook another half hour. Serve immediately as vegetable soup with some parmesan sprinkled on top. Or layer some soup and bread in a bowl or pot and let it sit overnight in the refrigerator. Reheat the next day and you’ve got ribollita. Serve with parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.