Portuguese Chard and Bean Soup

Portuguese Chard and White Bean Soup

It has been incredibly hot here in Oregon – a heat wave the likes of which I never imagined for this temperate state. Nonetheless, I was in the mood for soup. Of course, I made it in the cooler early morning along with breakfast, long before lunch time and then just heated it up when it was time to eat it. The thing is, Mom was right about soup. There is no reason not to serve soup when it is hot, you just have to serve the right soup. By that she meant a soup that avoid lots of carbs. This soup does that.

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup of red chard stems, diced
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 11 oz linguiça, sliced thinly
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 can cannellini beans
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with chiles
  • 3 cups chopped red chard leaves
  • 3 cups chopped cabbage
  • Salt and pepper

To make the soup, I put a tablespoon of olive oil in my stock pot and added 1 tsp of cumin and salt and pepper. Then I added the onions to sauté and get tender. When the onions were tender, I added the red chard stems and minced garlic. I added some white wine vinegar and let the stems cook and absorb the vinegar. This gives them a brighter, less earthy flavor. I also added some salt and pepper. Adding a bit of salt and pepper at each stage layers the flavors so everything is seasoned and, counter-intuitively, you will be less likely to over-season.

Next I added the linguiça and let them cook to bring out a a bit more flavor before adding the water and bay leaves. I let this all simmer for about 10 minutes, then I added the beans and tomatoes and some salt and pepper. I let cook another 10 minutes or so and added the cabbage and chard leaves, with some salt and pepper. Another 5 – 7 minutes and it was done. I let it cool just a bit before serving.

This is delicious, though it makes far more than a single serving. More like 10 servings, but soup only gets better the next day. The vegetables are not overdone, the cabbage and chard complement each other beautifully, the linguiça makes such a rich and flavorful broth.

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