Farmer’s Markets are Open! Support Local Agriculture and Eat Like a King!

the bountyFor those of you who wish for fresher, bigger, juicier produce and don’t live near a farmer’s market that is open year-round, you’re in luck!  The vendors at your local farmer’s markets are setting up shop just in time, as the spring bounty of fruits and vegetables are ready to be plucked and eaten.  They carry everything from fresh goat’s milk and eggs, to herb baskets, honey and fresh-baked artisan breads.   

Speaking of dairy, Mr. Cheese and I were up bright and early Saturday morning and headed to our local market in downtown Fairfax.  We planned to get the staples we go through every week, like tomatoes, onions, spinach, romaine and apples.  Let me tell you, it was hard to not bring everything home.  The star of the visit was the swiss chard that showed absolutely beautiful colors and  huge, crisp, promising leaves. swiss chard

My brain was wracked, thinking of recipes and fun things we could do with all of the veggies we bought, but as the clouds rolled in Sunday and the temperatures began to drop, it became apparent that a soup was in order.  The key to this soup is to fully cook the beans, and not add too much seasoning.  Let the pure and delicious flavors stand on their own.  

Bean Soup with Sausage & Swiss Chard

  • 2 cups assorted beans (we used white navy, small red kidney and black beans)
  • 1 small scallion, diced (we used purple scallions)
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oilBean soup with Sausage & Swiss Chard
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup cooking Sherry
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 pound smoked sausage, cut into bite-size pieces (we used Polish)
  • 1 bunch swiss chard, cut into strips* (see below for tips)
  • 1 cup tomatoes, diced
  • 2 Tablespoons cilantro, fresh chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt

How to Make It!

Rinse off the beans in a large strainer, and put them in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Cover with vegetable stock and add water if you need more liquid, to cover the beans.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer, cover and let cook for about 5-6 hours, stirring on occasion.  Add more water, as needed. 

When the beans are almost fully cooked, heat the olive oil over medium heat, in a small saute pan.  Add the garlic and scallions and cook until tender, about 5 minutes or so.  Turn the heat up a bit, to medium-high and add the cooking Sherry, while stirring the garlic and scallions.  Reduce the Sherry by half, then stir the mix into the pot with the beans. 

Turn the heat up on the beans to medium-high, add the sausage and let cook for about 8-10 minutes, stirring on occasion.  The soup should be at a sturdy bubble, but not a rolling boil.  add the swiss chardAdd in the swiss chard, a handful at a time, then stir to distribute it throughout the soup.  You’ll note, the swiss chard will reduce greatly in volume once ‘cooked down’.  After about 10 minutes, stir in the tomatoes and turn the heat down to medium-low.  Add the balsamic vinegar and cilantro, and taste the soup prior to adding salt.  Season with salt, to taste.  Serves 6-8

*to cut swiss chard, put a few leaves on top of each other and cut down the middle, lengthwise, on one side of the stem. 

Hold the leaves together while you then cut strips in the other direction, starting from the top of the leaves, about 1 inch wide.  This creates the perfect bite-size pieces.  

 

 

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About tossingtheswissaround

I have been obsessed with food since I can remember. I grew up watching the Frugal Gourmet and Julia Childs in black and white repeats on TV. I made an elementary version of veal parmesan when I was all of 8 years old and even concocted a homemade version of vomit to drizzle along the hallway and oh-so-carefully in the bathroom so I could get of school whenever I wanted. Dad never caught on but I eventually came clean about that vomit recipe. About two years ago. My skills have greatly improved and my obsession has only deepened as the years go by. In the mornings, I ask my co-workers what’s for lunch, what they ate last night and what is on the menu tonight. I groan when I eat almost anything I like because I can barely contain my excitement. Because, well, because it’s food! I was technically trained and once worked as a formal chef but physically that takes its toll so I joined the much less strenuous, albeit entertaining, world of HR. Food is still at the forefront of my mind as I continue to cook and love all things food. Enjoy!
This entry was posted in beans, food, Home, how-to, recipes, sausage, soups, swiss chard and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Farmer’s Markets are Open! Support Local Agriculture and Eat Like a King!

  1. Great recipe, very timely. The markets here are bursting with strawberries and greens.

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