After a week of mostly beautiful days, we’ve been hit with a gray spell. While overcast weather doesn’t normally give me the blues, my mind was set that spring was here and – having a few days off & out of a studio – I was due for some sun. Friday was sort of covered with this awning of light gray clouds which kept me inside puttering around. Working on getting the studio room put together. Bookshelves now full of my cookbooks and such. I also got to have a weekday lunch with my sweetie at home – quite a rarity. Nothing fancy – grilled cheese sandwiches and this soup. It was simple but pretty awesome. On those gray days – days where you’re focused on other stuff besides cooking – nothing makes me happier than a brothy soup with pasta in it.
The flavor for this soup comes in the broth. I chopped up a lemon and threw it in a pot of homemade vegetable stock. As it heated up, the tang of the citrus brightened up the mild stock. I love the texture of greens in soup and chard has a bitterness that plays nicely with the broth. For a little more substance, I threw in some small pastas – any shape you have on hand would go well here. If you make this and intend to eat it later, go ahead and plan on having to add more liquid – either water or broth – to the soup when you reheat it as those pastas soak up a lot of it.
Lemony Swiss Chard Soup – serves 4 to 6 as a hearty starter or light entree soup
– In a large soup pot, combine the vegetable stock and the lemon. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the lemon pieces – you can strain this if you see lemon seeds in the broth or just want to ensure a clear soup broth. Bring the broth back to a low boil and add the dried pastas and cook until al dente – 5 or 6 minutes (this depends on which size/shape you use). Just before the pasta is completely cooked, stir in the chopped chard and continue to cook until just wilted – another 2-3 minutes. Taste and add salt & pepper to your liking. Serve immediately. If you’re adding the cheese garnish, grate it directly into the bowls right before serving.