I had this for breakfast.
I even had to fight the cat for it.
These days I am immersed in the exploits of the Polar explorer/physicist/mathematician Otto Schmidt.
While forging a new trade route, his ship - the Chelyuskin got mired in ice and sank - stranding 100 passengers (including women and babies born on board) on an iceberg for three months. I bet he would have liked some of this soup.
It is ten degrees out and the temps are only going down. The arctic air is here - Minnesota's meteorologists are thrilled - proclaiming the first polar air of the season. Minnesota's meteorologists are a decidedly odd bunch.
The soup hails from Tuscany via Cooking Light. You don't need a blast of arctic air to enjoy it. This will warm the cockles of your heart. And come together in 30-40 minutes. What more do you want? Grab a pot and start cooking.
Tuscan Bean Soup with Swiss Chard - adapted from Cooking Light Magazine* (Serves 4)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow or white onion chopped
5 garlic cloves - minced
2 cups vegetable broth (for vegan or vegetarian) can use chicken broth
1 cup water
2 teaspoons chopped rosemary
2-15 ounce cans cannellini beans (rinsed)
1 1-2 ounce Parmesan rind (omit if Vegan - it adds substance but is also good without)
2 chopped carrots
1 bunch Swiss Chard - chopped
1/2 teaspoon red pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt - optional - the rind adds salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
6 tablespoons freshly shaved Parmesan cheese for garnish (again, omit if vegan)
*Consider using kale or spinach. Cooking Light used escarole. Mix up the beans - the seasonings. Add or subtract onions. Use shallots instead or all garlic - consider the list of ingredients a guide.
Heat a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat. Add oil to pan and swirl to coat. Add onion and saute for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Add broth, water, rosemary, beans, Parmesan rind and carrots and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes - until the carrot is tender and all is winningly combined. Stir in Swiss Chard (or other greens) and simmer for ten more minutes. Stir in red pepper, salt (if using), black pepper and vinegar. Remove rind. Serve, with shaved Parmesan.
Keep away from cat.
It has color, varied textures and magical properties as all soups do. And you don't need to be stranded on an iceberg to enjoy it.