Hearty White Bean and Swiss Chard Soup

3 Jan



Salt and pepper
1 pound (2 1/2 cups) dried cannellini beans, picked over and rinsed
6 slices bacon, chopped fine
1 pound Swiss chard, stems chopped, leaves sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 onion, chopped
2 celery ribs, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
8 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes


  1. Dissolve 3 tablespoons salt in 4 quarts cold water in large container. Add beans and soak at room temperature for at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours. Drain and rinse well.
  2. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 250 degrees. Cook bacon in Dutch oven over medium heat until crispy, 6 to 8 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towel–lined plate. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from pot.
  3. Return now-empty pot to medium heat and add Swiss chard stems, onion, celery, and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in broth, 3 cups water, bay leaves, rosemary sprig, and soaked beans. Increase heat to high and bring to boil. Cover pot, transfer to oven, and cook until beans are almost tender (very center of beans will still be firm), 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  4. Remove pot from oven and stir in Swiss chard leaves and tomatoes and their juice. Cover pot, return to oven, and continue to cook until beans are fully tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Discard bay leaves and rosemary sprig. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in reserved bacon. Serve.

From Cook’s Country (December/January 2014)



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