A taste of autumn…
But wait. Isn’t that a picture of … Swiss chard? Since when does Swiss chard taste like autumn?
Since it started involving itself with sweet potatoes and white beans and sage, that’s when.
For weeks now, I’ve been stuck between savoring the unusually summer-y weather and wishing really hard for a chance to dig out my sweaters. I’m a big fan of summer and the farm-fresh fruits and veggies that come with it, but there’s just something perfectly cozy about root vegetables and hot soup that makes me wait impatiently for cooler weather. Here’s a great “transition” dinner for one of those nights when you can’t make up your mind whether it’s summer or fall: sweet potato and white bean soup with sage-walnut pesto. It’s quick to whip up, like a summer dinner, but satisfying in a decidedly autumnal way.
You could skip the pesto and the soup would be lovely on its own, but the pesto really rounds out the flavors of the soup. It also dresses up the dish in a company-worthy sort of way. Double the recipe and with a loaf of crusty bread, an arugula salad, and a bottle of crisp white wine, you’ll have a dinner party in no time.
Sweet Potato and White Bean Soup with Sage-Walnut Pesto
adapted from Cooking Light
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups thinly sliced leek (about 2 medium)
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
2 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled sweet potato
4 cups chopped Swiss chard (about one bunch)
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp. salt
1 (15 or 19-ounce) can cannellini or great northern beans, rinsed and drained
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
First, clean the sliced leeks by swishing them in a large bowl of cold water, then let it sit for 15 minutes. This will allow the sand to fall to the bottom of the bowl. Scoop out the leeks and dry slightly on a kitchen towel.
To prepare the soup, heat a Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil (or coat the pan with cooking spray). Add leek to pan; cook 8 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Stir in broth and 1 cup water; bring to a boil. Add potato; cook 10 minutes or until potato is tender. Stir in chard, pepper, salt, and beans; cook 3 minutes or until chard wilts. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice.
Meanwhile, prepare the pesto.
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated parmeggiano or Asiago cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 Tbsp. chopped walnuts
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh sage
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil or walnut oil
1 garlic clove, peeled
Combine cheese and remaining ingredients in a food processor; process until smooth, scraping sides of bowl occasionally.
Ladle soup into bowls; top each serving with 2-3 tbsp. pesto. Yields 4-5 servings.
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