Here is thick soup recipe recommend by one of our CSA members. It is from the recipe book by Marcella Hazan called “Marcella Cucina “.
- 1 lb Swiss Chard
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup finely chopped onion
- ½ cup finely chopped celery
- 1/3 cup chopped, peeled, or fresh tomatoes
- 2-3 peeled chopped carrots
- ½ cup pearl barley
- ½ cupped canned cannellini beans, or
- ¾ cup dried white kidney beans soaked overnight
- Black pepper ground fresh
- Freshly grated Parmigiana-Reggiano cheese for the table
1. Soak the chard in a basin of cold water for about 10 minutes, drain, then wash in several changes of cold water. If it is mature chard with broad stalks, detach the stalks and cut them across into short, very thin strips approximately 1/8 inch wide. Cut the leaves into narrow strips about ¼ inch wide.
2. Put the olive oil and the chopped onion in a soup pot and turn on the heat to medium. Cook the onion, stirring from time to time, until it becomes colored a light god, then add the chopped carrot and celery. Cook for 6 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally; then add the tomatoes, turning them over once or twice. After another 6 minutes or so, add the cup-up chard leaves and stalks and some salt. Turn the contents of the pot over to mix them well, cover the pot, and turn the heat down to the lowest setting.
3. In the meanwhile, bring 4 to 5 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan, put in the barley, and cook at a gentle but steady simmer for about 40 minutes - more if you like the barley very tender, or possibly slightly less if you like it chewy. Drain the barley into a small bowl, but do not discard the water in which is cooked.
4. Taste the chard leaves and stalks. When both are quite soft, add the cooked barley and the drained beans. Mix thoroughly and cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes always at a low heat.
5. Add as much of the water that you cooked in the barley in you decide is necessary to bring the soup to a desired consistency. The soup is meant to be rather on the dense side, but you can add more water if you like it thinner. Add salt and a few grindings of pepper and cook long enough to heat the liquid that was just added. Serve with grated cheese available at the table.
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