adventures in chard

the two heads of swiss chard that i bought at the farmers market last weekend were starting to go limp, so i knew it was time to make use of them. the best thing about fresh vegetables is that there’s always a use for the scraps and ingredient remnants! i decided to use 3/4 of the swiss chard in a honey garlic sautee, and about halfway through chopping i decided i was letting far too much beautiful vegetable matter go to waste, and decided to make a chard soup too.

honey-garlic swiss chard sautee

4 scallions chopped

1/4 red onion (any onion will do)

3 cloves of garlic

1 tablespoon honey

2 tsp soy sauce or salt to taste

two heads chard (this works for any other fresh summer greens, too)

for prep: finely chop the scallions, onion, and garlic cloves.

throw the garlic and onions into a pan with about one tablespoon of olive oil and let that heat on low while you chop the chard.

rinse and drain the chard. chop off the ends, and most of the stalk. set these aside! also throw in scraps of onion, onion skin, and scallion ends.

chop the chard as you please…

when the onion and garlic are about browned, set the chard onto the pan and carefully mix. sprinkle on about 1.5 tsp each ginger powder and paprika (i just have a ball with both, but for a safe estimate 1.5 tsp is a start)

carefully mix again, splash with soy, and a couple tablespoons of water. this will ensure that the honey doesn’t cook down too much into a thick syrup. sautee for about 10 minutes, until done!

now, what to do with all of these vegetable scraps?? i’ve only recently discovered that home made food stocks are quite a delight to both make and taste! i learned this from the greens cookbook, which has a whole chapter on soup stocks. onion skins and onion leave stocks with a hint of sweet, and quinoa thickens the stock a bit. so i threw the scraps (chard stalks, onion layers and skin, leftover scallion) them into a pot with about 7 cups of water, 3 TBSP salt, and 3 cloves of garlic, crushed.

once boiled down for at least 30 minutes, i turned off the heat and scooped out the overcooked vegetable scraps. then i put the rest of the chard into the still hot pot and closed the lid as to steam the chard. after about ten minutes, transfer the stock and lightly steamed chard into a blender or food processor on liquefy setting. blend/process until very smooth, no lumps or chunks!

i tasted the soup at this point and it had a very green, raw flavor. i liked it, but it was a tad too sharp and acidic. (i typically like to pair greens soups (spinach, generally) with some sort of cream or milk flavor, but i try not to use dairy products as much as i can.)  i added 3/4 of a cup of kefir to the soup, some salt and pepper.

delicious! a perfect fresh, summery refreshing soup to serve chilled. try it!

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