Saint Patrick’s Day is easily one of those holidays that could pass by unnoticed. No gifts to exchange. No tradition to uphold (well, if you’re past the drink-green-beer stage of life, that is.) No designated meal to prepare.
But I love any excuse to celebrate, and so Saint Patrick’s Day must be recognized properly. In this case, with green food. Not I’m not opposed to using green dye for your eggs, or pancakes, or milk. But if you’re looking for a healthier, natural alternative, try this Swiss Chard Soup.
This soup was a childhood favorite of mine. We grew Swiss Chard in our garden plot, and this was one way we could use it, or freeze it for winter. When I left home, this was one of the first recipes I asked for to recreate in my own kitchen.
I believe the original recipe was actually for Spinach Soup, but I think this version is so tasty I’ve never bothered to try the spinach version. I hope you enjoy this family favorite for a festive Saint Patty’s Day!
Swiss Chard Soup
Serves 4 as meal, 6 as a side
2 cloves of garlic
1 lb swiss chard
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup flour
2 cups milk
salt, pepper, basil, thyme, nutmeg
1. Peel and roughly chop the carrot, onion and potato. Peel garlic. Put all into a soup pot and just cover with water. Steam over medium heat until tender, and puree all contents of the pot (water too) until smooth in food processor. Return to pot.
2. Put 1 cup of water in another soup pot. Wash the swiss chard and tear leaves off the center white stem, tossing into pot. (This is key – you don’t want the stems in the soup!) Cover and steam until leaves are wilted and tender, approximately 10 minutes. Puree all contents of the pot (water too) until smooth in food processor.
3. Make a roux by melting 1/3 cup of butter over medium heat in soup pot. Whisk in 1/3 cup of flour until smooth. Whisk in 2 cups of milk and simmer over low heat, stirring, until thick.
4. Add the pureed swiss chard to the roux, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add pinches of basil, thyme and nutmeg.
5. Pour the vegetable puree into the swiss chard mix. Adjust seasoning and, if too thick, add milk or broth. Heat until creamy and fragrant. Serve hot with crusty bread.