This soup makes a delicious one pot meal on a cold night. It is nourishing comfort food at its best, fast, healthy and chock full of potassium. For a heartier meal, add 1/3 cup pasta spirals into each bowl when serving – I prefer Eden kamut spirals, which are whole grain and protein-rich without that grainy, heavy taste found in some whole wheat pastas. Organic chard is preferable.
2 large or three small bunches chard
5-8 large garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced (depending on taste)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more if desired
Four sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves removed and roughly chopped
2 15 oz. cans white beans (northern, navy, cannellini), rinsed and drained
6-8 cups water, or a mix of water with up to two cups vegetable broth
Coarse sea salt or fleur du sel (start with ½ teaspoon, and add more to taste)
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Freshly grated high-quality parmesan (for non-vegans)
Wash and dry the chard and remove the thickest part of the stems. Slice leaves horizontally into 2” ribbons.
Add oil to a heavy-bottomed, 5-quart soup pot and heat till evenly distributed. Add garlic, rosemary, red pepper flakes and a pinch of the sea salt. Sautee several minutes until garlic gets the faintest tinge of gold but is still soft, stirring periodically. Add chard, and saute until wilted, stirring often. Add the water and or vegetable broth, white beans and freshly ground black pepper, stirring to distribute evenly. Bring to a low boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered for approximately twenty minutes or until flavors are well blended. Add more water if soup cooks down too much or you want a thinner texture. Add more salt, fresh black pepper and red pepper to taste. Adding most salt at the end of cooking general results in using less salt overall.
Serve over pasta if using, with fresh grated parmesan on top. If not using cheese, I sometimes sprinkle a little fleur du sel over each bowl.