Saturday, January 8, 2011

Bean Stew For A Healthy You

Well, the 12 days of Christmas are officially over, so I figured I had to move on from Christmas cookies.  Tear.  And on to semi-healthy things, since it's January, and that's how people roll in January, right?  Actually, the fact that this next recipe is on the semi-healthy side is purely coincidental.  I saw it on Smitten Kitchen and it looked absolutely amazing, AND I realized that I had nearly everything I needed in the pantry already, and so that's what I did.  

So, the recipe:  Chard and White Bean Stew.  Doesn't that excite you?  It excites me.  Seriously.  It's full all sorts of yummy things that I love, like beans and tomatoes and garlic and shallots and herbs.  The real bonus was, as I said, all of these things are pantry staples for me, other than the chard.  I made a special pilgrimage to Whole Foods just for that, and for 20 whole minutes felt way too uncool to be there.  Cambridge is just too hip for me...  Anyway, I got home, then whipped this up.  It probably takes about an hour to make, if you're actually paying attention, but I was distracted with several other things, so it probably took me a longer.  But it's great because after you've got all your aromatics chopped and sauteing, you don't really need to pay close attention.  Perfect for cleaning up as you go, or doing other projects that I'll tell you about shortly.

Smitten Kitchen says that the chard can be replaced with kale or spinach or another hearty green, if so desired.  As for serving (which I haven't actually done yet, due to too much snacking while cooking), it can be served as is, or with some fresh herbs or grated Parmesan or Romano on top.  To make it an even more filling and delicious meal, try toasting at thick piece of rustic bread, rubbing it with a clove of garlic, then ladling your stew on top of that, then topping it with a poached egg, then some fresh herbs, few drops of sherry vinegar and/or some grated cheese.  Gosh, I wish I could take credit for that, but I cannot.  But I am definitely doing that tomorrow, once I'm hungry again.  Ooh, golly I just can't wait.

Chard and White Bean Stew (Adapted only slightly from
Serves 6 to 8

* 1 pound Swiss chard (or kale, spinach or another green), ribs and stems removed and cleaned
* 3 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 cup (5 1/4 ounces) chopped carrots
* 1 cup (5 ounces) chopped celery
* 1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) chopped shallots, about 4 medium
* 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
* 1 cup dry white wine
* 2 15-ounce cans (or about 3 3/4 cups) white beans (such as Navy Beans or Cannellini beans), drained and rinsed
* 2 cups (or more to taste) vegetable broth
* 1 cup pureed tomatoes (canned is fine; this is less than a 15 ounce can)
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 3 fresh thyme sprigs
* 1 bay leaf
* 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar (Red wine vinegar also works in a pinch)
* Garnishes: Toasted bread slices, poached eggs, chopped herbs such as tarragon, parsley or chives or grated Parmesan or Romano, if desired

1. Bring medium pot of salted water to boil. Cook chard (or any heavier green; no need to precook baby spinach) for one minute, then drain and squeeze out as much extra water as possible. Coarsely chop chard.

2. Dry out the medium pot and heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add carrots, celery, shallots and saute for 15 minutes, adding the garlic in the last few minutes.  Light browning is okay, although don't go crazy--you mostly want soft veggies, not crispy ones, and definitely no burnt garlic--bitter city!

3. Add wine (scraping up any bits that may have stuck to the pot) and cook it until it reduced by three-fourths. 

 4. Add beans, broth, tomatoes, a few pinches of salt, freshly ground black pepper, thyme and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes. Add chard and cook for 5 minutes more. Remove thyme and bay leaf. Add more broth if you’d like a thinner stew and adjust salt and pepper to taste.

5. Serve as is drizzled with sherry vinegar. Or try the aforementioned toast/stew/egg/cheese/sherry vinegar combo.



  1. This was delicious! I used Kale instead of Chard and I increased the liquid with extra wine instead of vegetable broth, since that didn't involve opening a new container. I didn't use Sherry Vinegar but I think that was ok since I used the extra wine. I included some extra garlic because one can never have too much garlic! I also think the toast baguette really made it a full meal. I'm looking forward to having it with a poached egg tomorrow! Yum! Good share Macy!

    --side note, I think you should feature Brussels Sprouts--- YUM!