Meatless Monday: Tomato-chickpea soup with Swiss chard and rice

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Very rarely does soup come together in less than an hour. One of the great things about a soup is that it sits on the stove, simmering and reducing itself into super-concentrated flavor from meat or veggies in the pot. I was a little skeptical at the recipe for tonight’s offering from Serious Eats, as it promised a total work time of 40 minutes.

But when you read the instructions, the only flavors that need to meld are the garlic, onions, stock and the tomatoes, which receive plenty of time to work together in the beginning. The chickpeas don’t offer much in the way of flavor, adding starch, bulk and protein instead. The Swiss chard absorbs the flavor from the broth. The key here is salt and making sure you use plenty of it. Sea salt probably works best here since you can season without the added sodium (sort of the “tastes great, less filling” argument).

2013-02-11 at 17-19-05WHAT WORKED: Bagged chard. Wegmans had very little fresh chard on Sunday. The staff says that bad crops out West has hurt some of what they are able to stock. The bagged variety worked well here. Since the stems and leaves are mixed together, I had to modify the original slightly.

WHAT DIDN’T: My stove. I think it’s time to check the burners. In the first paragraph, when I’m supposed to boil and simmer the broth on medium, I found myself needing to crank the heat to medium-high. Apparently, my gas stove wasn’t firing enough heat. I’ll add that to my weekend to-do list.

WHAT DID THE WIFE SAY: “Something stinks in here.” She walked in just as the chard was beginning to wilt. Needless to say, it didn’t smell great.

WILL IT MAKE ANOTHER APPEARANCE: Yes. It actually wound up more like a stew than a soup, which meant that there wasn’t much leftover. I think that I would make a double-batch next time for lunch or freezer purposes.

2013-02-11 at 18-11-28Tomato-chickpea soup with Swiss chard and rice
Adapted from Serious Eats

  • 5 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced (about 3/4 cup)
  • 6 oz. rainbow chard
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tsp.)
  • 1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
  • 1 (15.5 oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup basmati rice
  • Freshly ground black pepper

2013-02-11 at 17-25-36Heat 3 tbsp. oil in medium pot over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until onions are translucent and stems are softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes and sprinkle with salt. Cook 2 minutes, then add stock. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until slightly reduced, about 10 minutes. Keep warm.

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Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 tbsp. oil in a large sauté pan over high heat until oil is hot and shimmering. Add chickpeas, sprinkle with salt, and fry over medium-high heat until browned and crispy, about 5 minutes. Drain on paper towel, and set aside.

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Stir the chickpeas and rice into the soup. Cook five minutes, stirring occasionally. Increase heat to medium-high and stir in the chard, waiting until just wilted and soft before adding more. Simmer 5 to 6 minutes to heat everything through, and then season with salt and pepper.

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