Soup & Earthquake Weather

Oh, autumn: you’re my favorite season, even in your disguised, Northern-California format. I’m not gonna rub salt in the wounds of all you Easterners and Midwesterners, but we had some perfect fall weather last week: highs around 70, lows around 45 — hoodie weather by day, perfect sleeping weather at night. Yeah, boy!Beyond being perfect for the wearing of midweight wool sweaters, last week was also perfect for eating soup. As it so happens, I spent last Sunday making a large pot of soup & thus I was set.

Recipe inspiration for my own badass soup.

I’m not well-versed in the making of soup, so I used a Martha Stewart recipe as my jumping-off point. Modifications are part of my game, and my finished product bore a moderate resemblance to its inspiration. Not to hate on Martha, but I think my version is livelier. It definitely has more heat.Sausage, Chickpea, and Rainbow Chard Soup

(Serves 6-8)

Ingredients:

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Two sausages, removed from casings and crumbled. I used garlic basil sausages, but hot Italian sausage would also work well.
  • One medium-sized yellow onion, finely chopped
  • Three ribs of celery, diced
  • Three ounces of carrots, cut into small coins
  • Six cups of chicken (or vegetable) stock — I used chicken
  • Approximately two cups water
  • Two Bay leaves
  • One can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • One head of Swiss chard, rinsed, patted dry, and coarsely chopped
  • Approximately four ounces of pasta — I used rotini
  • Salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste

Method:

  1. Coat the bottom of a soup pot or Dutch oven with olive oil; heat your pot. Once the oil is heated, add your sausage and cook until brown. As you cook the sausage, break it into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Once the sausage has cooked, add your chopped onion. Allow onion to cook until almost translucent — about eight minutes.
  3. Next, add your celery and carrots. Cook until mostly soft.
  4. Now, add your stock, water, and Bay leaves. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook for a bit — 20 minutes or so — to allow the broth to absorb the flavors of the sausage & the aromatic veggies.
  5. Stir in your garbanzo beans. Let the soup simmer for a bit longer — 10 minutes should be sufficient. Add your salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes, plus whatever other seasonings you find amenable.
  6. Add your chard and pasta at the very end of the simmering process. This is important! Chard and pasta cook really quickly, and you don’t want either to be mushy. I added both ingredients during the final four minutes of simmering, after which I removed the soup from the heat.
  7. After the soup has cooled slightly, portion it into Tupperwares and transfer to the fridge or freezer.

I ate this soup for lunch all last week and didn’t grow sick of it; it’s excellent with buttered crusty bread and a glass of wine (or cup of mint tea).

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