Kris' band played in Corpus this weekend. It was super fun except for the fact that he was fighting allergies the whole time. He managed to shine it on though until this morning when it seemed to go into something else.
As I write this, I can tell I'm getting whatever he has. No wonder I was craving soup.
This soup is both comforting and out of the ordinary at the same time. The lime juice adds an unexpected brightness and the variety of vegetables keep things interesting. Of course you can use whatever you have on hand as far as the greens go, but this particular combination is my favorite.
Comfort Ravioli Soup
* Can be made vegetarian - just switch stock to vegetable stock.
2-3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped shallots or onion
4 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
plenty of kosher salt, for seasoning
2 carrots, sliced fairly thin
1 bay leaf
3 plum tomatoes
2 bunches Swiss Chard, rinsed well, pulled from the thick stems (discard them) and torn into pieces (not too small - about the size of a lady's palm as they will shrink when they cook)
5 1/2 cups low sodium chicken stock
juice of 1 healthy lime
lots of fresh grated nutmeg
good pinch red pepper flakes
1/2 cup drained cannellini beans
1 cup frozen lima beans
rind of parmesan (or sub 1/2 cup shredded parm)
1 package (9 oz) three cheese whole wheat pasta, such as Buitoni
Heat the oil in a medium, heavy weight lidded dutch oven over medium heat. Add the shallots, season with a pinch of salt and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook, stirring often to keep it from burning - about 2 minutes. Add in the carrots (season with a pinch more salt) and bay leaf sauté for 4 minutes. Meanwhile, cut the tops off the tomatoes on the stem side. Hold each tomato over the sink, cut side down, and squeeze the seeds out. Then dice the tomatoes and add them to the carrots.
Cook the tomatoes just long enough to knock the newness off of them, about 3 minutes. Add in the Swiss Chard then pour in the chicken stock and lime juice giving a good stir. Place the lid on and turn the heat to high. Once it's boiling, remove the lid and stir in the nutmeg and red pepper flakes and another pinch of salt.
Let boil for another 2 minutes, then turn the heat to low and add in the cannellini and lima beans and the parmesan rind. Cover and let simmer on low for at least 30 minutes but preferably an hour. Stir every so often to make sure nothing's sticking to the bottom.
Remove the lid and stir in the pasta. Cover again and let simmer for 10 minutes until the pasta has cooked (and puffed.) Taste for seasoning, adding any salt and/or pepper or pepper flakes as needed.
Serve in big bowls with crusty bread alongside. Just make sure you don't eat the bay leaf. Discard if you can find it.