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V Puree of Swiss Chard and Romaine Soup
Adapted from a recipe in Clifford A. Wright’s “The Best Soups in the World,” this intensely green, creamy soup without cream is like a garden in a bowl. Tarragon gives it a real flavor boost, so don’t leave it out. I use an immersion blender to puree soups. It cuts down on dishes to wash and is a lot simpler and faster than a blender. Ready in about an hour. Makes approximately 6 servings.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
6 cups water
1/2 cup rice (uncooked)
1 carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped
1/2 pound Swiss chard, stemmed, both leaves and stems washed and coarsely chopped (keep separate)
4 leaves romaine lettuce (use the large, tougher outer leaves)
A handful of arugula or spinach leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Fresh tarragon or croutons for garnish (optional)
1. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large, heavy soup pot or Dutch oven, and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until tender, about five minutes, and add the water, rice, carrot, celery, the chopped chard stems, and salt to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer 15 minutes until the carrots and celery are tender. Add the Swiss chard leaves, romaine lettuce, and spinach or arugula, and continue to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until the Swiss chard stems are tender.
2. Puree with the tarragon in 1 1/2-cup batches. Don’t cover the blender tightly with the lid, which will cause the hot liquid to spill out. Instead, remove the center stopper from the lid, and cover the top of the blender with a towel to prevent hot splashes. Return the soup to the pot and heat through. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. If you wish, garnish with croutons or with fresh tarragon.