Cream of Spinach and Chard Soup: It has been many years since we have tackled chard and we hope that once you have read this, you too will embrace what turns out to be a very nutritious green leaf.On Saturday morning, Theresa, had bagged up some freshly gathered, organically grown chard and spinach leaves from The Farm at Rockledge Gardens. We were now gazing at them on our kitchen counter and wondering how best to serve them up. It was time for a little research for inspiration.
Did you know that chard is rich (very rich) in Vitamin A? Now, it’s not enough to pass on that snippet of wisdom without explaining why Vitamin A is good for you and how to get the best out of this humble leaf. Vitamin A is ‘fat-soluble’ which means that it needs the company of fat in order for our bodies to absorb it more efficiently. This was something to think about before we set about cooking up our organically grown chard. Vitamin A is good for our eyes and a deficiency of it can lead to dry eyes. The first clue that you may not be taking enough of it.
Chard is also high in Vitamin C and we have become very familiar with the reasons why Vitamin C is good for us but here are our top 5:
- Our bodies don’t make Vitamin C, it is a ‘water soluble’ vitamin so we have to eat it.
- It is great for keeping our immune systems healthy.
- We need Vitamin C to help our bodies absorb iron more efficiently.
- You need vitamin C for the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of your body.
- Vitamin C is an antioxidant which will help block some of the damage caused by free radicals, substances that damage DNA.
Once we had poured over all of this information, we went with a tried and tested cream of spinach and chard soup recipe and technique that has never let us down! Yes, it is green, very green and like most green food … it’s good for you!
Ingredients – Serves 6 – 8
- 2 – 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 small cloves garlic, roughly sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 ounces butter
- 1/2 pint dry white wine
- 3/4 pound baby Swiss chard leaves, washed and drained (if you are using larger chard leaves, remove the stems and discard and slice the remaining leaves into ribbons)
- 3/4 pound baby spinach leaves, washed and drained
- 3 ounces cornstarch mixed with a little cold water to a pouring consistency
- 1 pint milk
- 1/2 pint heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- In a deep saucepan, add the olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and butter over a low to medium heat. Cook for up to 1 minute without burning the garlic.
- Add the wine and continue to cook until the liquid has reduced at least by half.
- Add all of the leaves and keep turning them until they wilt.
- Add the milk, cream, water, cornstarch and nutmeg. Continue cooking and stirring until the soup comes to a boil and begins to thicken. Add more cornstarch mixed with water or milk to reach your desired thickness.
- Taste and season if needed. When cool enough, use a hand-held blender to reduce the leaves into the soup.
- Serve or refrigerate.
NOTE: This soup does develop a light skin on the surface when stood due to some chemical something or other in the chard. Simply stir or whisk it back into the soup.