Midwinter Vegetable Soup

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Midwinter Vegetable Soup
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Prep Time 30 minutes Cook Time 1 hour

This is a warming, hearty, and simple recipe that turns all your odds and ends of winter vegetables into a giant pot of nourishing soup. You can prep the veggies in order as the soup cooks, and if you don't have any stale bread to add, you can do without — but it does lend the soup a satisfying robustness. Let your kids add their own cheese and a splash of olive oil from a small pitcher: they'll love feeling involved in their dinner.

What you'll need

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional for drizzling
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • kosher salt
  • 1 large bunch chard, washed well
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 pound potatoes, diced (peel them if you like)
  • 1/2 pound carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 small green cabbage, quartered, cored and shredded
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes with their liquid
  • 2 14-ounce cans of chickpeas with their liquid
  • 6 cups water
  • 4 or 5 1/2-inch slices of baguette (or the equivalent amount of another crusty bread)
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese

Serves 8-10

How to make it

  1. Heat the olive oil in in a large, heavy soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions and 1 teaspoon of salt and sauté, stirring occassionally while you prepare the chard.

  2. Pull the leaves off the chard stems, finely slice the stems and add them, along with the garlic, to the pot. Stack and bunch the leaves, sliver them into fine ribbons, and set them aside.

  3. Prepare the remaining vegetables in order -- potatoes, carrots, cabbage -- adding each to the pot and continuing to sauté them as you go.

  4. Add the chard last, and when all the vegetables are wilted in the pot, add the paprika and stir for a minute or so.

  5. Now add the tomatoes with their liquid, the chickpeas with their liquid, the water, and another 2 teaspoons of salt and turn up the heat. When the pot boils, turn the heat down and simmer the soup gently for 40 minutes.

  6. Meanwhile, toast the bread in a 350º F oven for 10 minutes, until it is dry to the touch. Tear the bread into small pieces and sprinkle the vinegar over it.

  7. After the soup has cooked, stir in the bread (reserve some for garnish if you like), turn off the heat, and leave it for 15 minutes.

  8. Stir again, taste for salt, and serve with a drizzle of olive oil and a grating of fresh parmesan.

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