Maybe it's just a sign that I'm getting old, but when I'm in the car, I usually have the radio set on NPR. It's when I'm on a long road trip that I really look for upbeat music to keep me from driving too slow ... or dozing off! Anyhow, one of the shows they air is The Splendid Table with Lynne Rossetto Kasper. A while back, I was listening to her talk about using random greens from the fridge (especially a good use for items on their last leg) and wilting them down into a soup (see her recipe here). The way she described it at the time made me want to pull over so I could make a note to myself about it. Flash forward to yesterday when I was going through the fridge and saw a bunch of Leeks and a bunch of Green Swiss Chard and that little light bulb went off in my head.
I looked up the recipe, and it didn't sound nearly as interesting as how she described it on the radio. It sounded fine, but to hear her talk about it personally made you practically drool at the thought of it and be instantly relieved of any current cold symptoms or other maladies. With that in mind, I decided to raid my fridge and go for it. I was tempted to pull some spinach out of the freezer and throw in a head of Romaine but decided to keep it simple...or maybe just on a smaller scale in case I didn't like it.
I don't have a cold, so I can't claim to have been cured of anything, but it was a surprisingly comforting dish. It's the first soup (aside from French Onion of course) where I was actually wishing for a crouton of sorts to go along with it ... or use as a shovel. Hmmm, maybe with less broth, this would make for a great crostini topper.
3 T olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
4 stalks celery, chopped
1 bunch leeks, very well cleaned and chopped
1 bunch Green Swiss Card, chopped
10 oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies
Juice from half a lemon
3 c chicken broth or water
Salt and Pepper
Grated Romano or Parmesan (optional)
- Saute the garlic and celery in the olive oil until the celery just starts to soften
- Add the leeks and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until soft - about the time the circles sliced from the bulb ends are soft enough to start separating while you stir
- Add the chard and cook for about 5" more until wilted down and softened
- Stir in the tomatoes, lemon juice and broth and bring up to a boil to heat the broth though
- Season with Salt and Pepper to Taste
- When serving, top with a sprinkling of grated cheese
NOTE: Leeks tend to be extremely dirty, especially where the bulbs and greens meet, so give them a quick rinse and chop off the roots. Then slice the bulbs into rings until you get close to the greens and start to see grit. Separate all of the greens and rinse very well.