Everyone I know seems to have a cold right now.  I just got over my Great Sinus Explosion 2011 but everyone else seems to be in one phase or another of being sick.  And, criminey, when you turn off your iPod riding the train in the morning, it sounds like a TB ward (which is why I turn it up so I don’t have to listen to the snuffles, snorts, sniffs and sneezes – hearing all your fellow passengers just reminds you that you’re in a Petri dish with wheels).

So, instead of a stew, this week I’m going to feature a nice, hearty, spicy soup – because, let’s face it, if tomato soup doesn’t make you feel better, get to the ER because there is something seriously wrong with you.  If you’re not a fan of chard, you could also substitute spinach – but, since all my chard is ready for harvest, I decided to add some to this soup and it is just lovely.

Serve with a grilled cheese sammich and it’ll cure what ails you.

Tomato Chickpea and Swiss Chard Soup

  • Olive oil
  • 2 medium carrots, trimmed, peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks celery, trimmed and diced
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled, trimmed and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, microplaned
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1-2 tsp red pepper flakes (as a gauge, I used 1 1/2 tsp and it made a soup that bites back – it is seriously spicy)
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cups tightly packed chopped Swiss chard (I remove the stems, but you can keep them if you like)

Heat the olive oil over medium low heat, then add the onions, celery and carrots, season with a little salt and pepper and cover to cook for 5-10 minutes until soft.  Remove the cover and add the microplaned garlic, red pepper flakes, and oregano and stir to cook a minute before adding the chickpeas, tomato, stock and chard.  Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer, and cook for 30 minutes.  Serve topped with a good grating of pecorino or Parmesan cheese.