Red Chard, Potato and Chickpea Soup

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I had a bunch of new potatoes that were getting eyes all over and really needed to be cooked up into something. They were quite small, so cut up small pieces, they came to about 4 cups or so of potatoes. Thinking of what to make, I considered making the Potato & Kale Chicken soup I made a few months ago, but I had some red chard and decided to go with that and the vague memory of a stew served by my host family in Spain back when I was in high school.

I heated 2 TBSP of olive oil in my 4 quart pot. I chopped up one small yellow onion (about 1 cup of diced onions) and once the oil was hot, I added the 1 cup of diced onions and 4 cups of chopped potatoes and sautéed until the potatoes began to brown. Once they browned I added 3 minced small garlic cloves (I would have used 2 but they were tiny.) I then added 1/8 tsp of cayenne, 1 tsp of turmeric and 1/2 tsp of paprika and 1/2 tsp of salt. I let them heat just until they perfumed the air.

Then I added 4 cups of chicken broth. I made the broth by boiling the carcass and drippings from a roast chicken I made. The chicken rests on a bed of onions while it roasts and the onions become saturated with flavor making an amazing broth. If you want to make a vegan version, you can use vegetable broth. The original recipe fried up lots of shoulder bacon, using the bacon grease instead of olive oil and adding water for a bacon-flavored broth.

I let the broth heat and drained one can of cooked chickpeas, rinsing the canning fluid off them I tossed the chickpeas in with the potatoes. I took 3 stalks of red chard and cleaned them, removing the leaves from the red stems. I chopped up the leaves and added them (about 4 cups of chopped red chard) and let everything simmer with the lid on until the potatoes were tender.

The flavor is subtly spicy. It’s fairly hearty for a summer soup, but delicious and flavorful with some smokiness from the paprika, some heat from the cayenne and a subtle perfume from the turmeric that gives it a earthy background flavor that rounds out the blend of chard, potato and chickpeas.

This made about 2 quarts of soup.

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