So, I had a plan for my blog post this week and it was a good one -- roast chicken for the meat-eaters and my favorite kale salad for the vegetable fans. Except I made a serious miscalculation -- the kids are home from college and that means what I put in the fridge doesn't always stay there. Kale is a hot commodity around here and when I went looking for it this morning (I like a poached egg on kale salad for breakfast) -- it was nowhere to be seen. Evidently, River Road Farm's kale is a hit around the Dougherty house.
Which brings to me to Instant Pot. I'm not a fan of counter-top kitchen appliances and as a result, was skeptical of the all the fuss and bluster around Instant Pots....until 2017's Black Friday. Amazon had a deal on an Instant Pots that I couldn't pass up and since my crock-pot had recently bit the dust, there was an empty spot on the shelf (so I wasn't technically adding counter-top clutter). I haven't used it as a slow-cooker yet but it cooks beans like a champ (in about 45 minutes)! Given my penchant for last minute meal planning, the Instant Pot, and its super speedy bean cooking, has literally upped my bean game to a semi-pro-at-meal-planning level.
Faced with a lack of my main ingredient for the kale salad, I spied the chard and wondered what I could cook with that equally lovely and healthy greenery. Given the cold and damp, I naturally thought about soup and since I recently purchased some cannellini beans from Fraboni's in Madison, unearthed two jars of our canned tomatoes in the basement and found a half bottle of Chardonnay in the fridge -- I decided a hearty, vegetable soup was in order. I fired up the Instant Pot, made my vegetable stock from my favorite bouillon from the Chequamegon Co-op, and started chopping and sautéing.
I always make a double batch of soup so I can freeze a couple of quarts -- it's like having Blue Apron in your freezer!
Cannellini and Swiss Chard Soup
1 pound of dried cannellini beans (about 6 cups cooked)
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 red onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, chopped, divided
1 large bunch of Great Oak Farms Swiss chard, leaves chopped and stems sliced
1 quart canned tomatoes with juice, or one 28-ounce can of chopped tomatoes with juice
4 cups vegetable stock
1 cup white wine
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and pepper
A couple sprigs of rosemary and thyme (for the beans)
Place the beans, 6 cups of water, 2 cloves of chopped garlic, and the rosemary and thyme sprigs in the Instant Pot and cook at high pressure for 20 minutes. When timer goes off, let sit 10 minutes, then release steam valve. Remove cover and place the beans in a bowl. Set aside. You can also make the beans on the stovetop or use canned beans -- it's up to you....just make sure you end up with about 6 cups of beans.
Over medium heat, place about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of coarse black pepper and the chopped red onions in a medium Dutch oven or stockpot. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 - 7 minutes, or until the onions are softened. Add the garlic and rosemary and cook for another 2 - 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes (with the juice), vegetable stock, wine, and carrots and cook, covered, over medium-low heat for 15 minutes. Add the Swiss chard, cooked cannellini beans, red pepper flakes, and sherry vinegar and cook, uncovered, for another 5 minutes. Taste for salt and pepper and serve immediately.