During the cold months I love soup for lunch and since we avoid buying canned soups, I like to try to make a soup or stew on Sunday night. This way we have left-overs for lunch for at least a couple of days during the week and Sunday provides a little extra time to let it simmer.
This recipe is adapted from For the Love of the South’s “Southern Soup for the Soul”. I’m calling mine Greens & Veggies Soup. I’m not sure swiss chard is considered a “Southern” green…the red swiss chard was just too pretty to pass up.
1 bunch (4-6 cups packed) red swiss chard (or other greens as suggested in the original recipe collards, mustard, or turnip)
1 tbsp of olive oil
4-5 slices of bacon
2 tbsp bacon grease (reserved from cooked bacon)
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
2 tbsp of fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 28-oz. can crushed San Manzo tomatoes
32-oz low-sodium vegetable broth
1 16-oz can butter beans, drained and rinsed
4 sprigs of thyme
Salt and ground pepper, to taste
Tabasco, to taste
Wash the greens well in batches, often times a good amount of sand is hiding in there. I like to dunk them in a bowl of water, dump, repeat, and then rinse several times under the running water. Remove the stems with a knife and hand-tear the greens into bite-sized pieces.
In a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, add the olive oil and slices of bacon. Cook the bacon until crispy and set aside on a paper towel; add to individual bowls when serving. Drain fat from pot reserving 2 tbsp. Add reserved bacon fat back to pot. Add carrots, celery, onion, garlic, red pepper flakes and parsley. Add two or three good pinches of salt (around a tbsp or so). Cook until the vegetables have softened, 8-10 minutes.
Add the crushed tomatoes and cook, stirring frequently for 10-15 minutes. Add broth, beans, greens, and thyme sprigs to the pot. Add additional salt and pepper. Bring to boil and reduce to a simmer for 40-50 minutes (partially covered).
Remove thyme sprigs and season with salt, pepper, and Tabasco to taste. The Tabasco really brings a unique flavor to the dish. Ladle into individual bowls and top with crumbled bacon.
The Rest of the Week:
- Ziti with Portobello Mushrooms, Caramelized Onions, & Goat Cheese : no notes for this one. Easy, satisfying dinner..it did not reheat as well for lunch the next day but it was fine.
- Broccoli Cheese Rice Casserole: this dish I do not highly recommend. I thought it was a bit bland. You need more cheddar cheese for spreading on top and I would say add ½ an onion. I’m including because you may be able to make it better. I did prepare the rice the night before and chopped up the veggies so this was an easy Monday night dish.
- Baked Eggs: baked eggs are an easy and inexpensive meal. This recipe calls for making your own sauce with fresh tomatoes but you can make your own sauce with canned tomatoes, onion, garlic, and herbs (basil, oregano..whatever you have on hand). Just sauté the onion in about a tablespoon of olive oil for 3-5 minutes or until soft, add the garlic and sauté for another minute, add the tomatoes and herbs, and simmer for about 15-20 minutes.
- Caramel Bars with Salted Cashews: these are so good. We did try them without resting overnight and they still tasted great and cut just fine. Be super careful with the caramel as it is REALLY hot..I suffered a small but painful burn from a drop. Our caramel after adding the cream and butter was basically a huge lump, it did dissolve but took a long time and I was worried the finished product would be overcooked but it turned out fine. Just keep stirring.