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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Chard Soup with Cumin, Cilantro, and Lime

In my garden one of the last vegetables still standing, and looking beautiful, is chard. Here's a way to use it, particularly nice on a cooler day.


Chard Soup with Cumin, Cilantro, and Lime

Adapted from Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison
Serves 4-6

8 c packed, rinsed, and trimmed chard leaves, about 1 pound without stems (let sit in colander to drain)
2-3 T olive oil
1 onion, sliced
1 small potato (about 4 oz.) scrubbed and thinly sliced
1 carrot, scrubbed and sliced
2 T tomato paste
1 1/2 teas ground cumin
1 teas ground coriander
1 c finely cut cilantro stems and leaves
1 teas salt
5 c water
1/2 c sour cream or yogurt
freshly ground pepper
grated zest and juice of 1 lime

Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, potato, and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not cooked completely. Stir in the tomato paste, cumin, and coriander smashing them into the vegetables. Allow to cook for a minute to bloom the spices. Stir in the cilantro and lay the still wet chard leaves on top; sprinkle the salt over the leaves. Cover the pan and allow the leaves to cook down substantially before adding 5 c water. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to a simmer. Cover partially, and simmer until the potato has softened completely and the chard is soft.

Cool slightly, then add the sour cream and puree in a blender until smooth. (You may have to do this in batches.) Or try a good stick blender (mine didn't work well). Return the soup to the pot over gentle heat. Taste for salt, season with pepper, and stir in the lime zest and juice. Ladle into bowls, top with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt, and serve.

You can add texture to this soup by serving with fresh herbs (more cilantro or chives, especially), croutons, crisply toasted  and buttered bread crumbs, cooked rice, or toasted thin strips of tortillas.

This soup may be cooked with other tender greens such as sorrel, wild nettles, lovage leaves, lamb's quarters, or others in the goosefoot family. Combinations would work, too.

Note: The first time I made this, I left out the tomato paste because I was serving it to someone with a tomato intolerance; it tasted just fine.

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