A great way to use new varieties of vegetables from your CSA share is to sub them in a more familiar dish. Here broccoli cheddar gets an update with gruyere cheese and rainbow chard. This is one of the coldest springs on record, with the weather up and down it’s hard to know what to prepare! This creamy soup is bright and green, but comforting. The perfect soup for when you want something fresh and soothing.
Swiss chard is such a beautiful, versatile green and when I chatted with Chef Chris Kuhns he lamented the fact that most people discard the flavorful stalks. This dish utilizes the whole vegetable, making a base from the stalks and onion, then simmering the greens, and pureéing. Nutty gruyere cheese is a nice compliment to the chard and adds a rich flavor.
Start by separating the leaves and stems. To do this, I fold the leaf in half and cut out the stem, then cut any excess leaf off the stem. This is the most work you’ll do for this soup, so take your time. Dice the chard stem and onions into small pieces. Then, roll the chard leaves into a tight bundle and cut into fine shreds. Spin the chard completely dry in a salad spinner so it doesn’t water down the soup base. I usually break down the leaves before washing, but I know some people prefer to do it the other way around. I rinse the chopped leaves several times in the salad spinner to rinse away all the grit.
Once the chard is de-stemmed and chopped, most of the work is over! Sauté the minced onion and chard stems in butter, and then add the flour to the pan to make a roux. Stream in the stock and milk. Add the chard in batches, more if you want a thicker, greener soup, less if you want a thinner, creamier soup. Purée the whole thing with an immersion blender to desired consistency.
Cream of Swiss Chard Gruyere Soup
1 bunch of swiss chard
6 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
1 onion, diced
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
3 cups whole milk
1 cup finely grated gruyere cheese, plus more for serving
salt and pepper to taste
Separate chard stems and leaves. Fold each leaf in half and cut out the stem. Thoroughly wash stems, then dice. Roll leaves into a big bundle, then finely slice. Transfer leaves to a salad spinner and submerge leaves in water, then lift out the strainer basket to rinse. Repeat several times. Spin leaves dry and set aside.
Melt butter over medium heat in a stockpot. Add onions and chard stems, sauté until soft about 5 minutes. Sprinkle flour in and stir until a smooth paste is formed. Add stock 1 cup at a time, whisking until smooth. Stir in milk and bring to a simmer. Add chard leaves in batches (about 4 – 6 cups leaves total, depending on desired consistency) and simmer soup about 5 – 8 minutes more until chard is softened, but still green.
Purée soup, using an immersion blender or blender. Use caution when blending hot liquids! Stir cheese into puréed soup and serve warm, garnished with more cheese.
Variations. Gluten free flour is an excellent thickener for soups and stews, so feel free to sub gluten free all purpose flour here.
This soup is great on it’s own, but I enjoyed the added crunch of fresh croutons.
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