When making this soup I really had to fight the urge to add things to it and change it too much.
I kind of hate when I read reviews for recipes and the reviewer writes "Oh this soup was so great! I substituted the swiss chard for spinach, added carrots and mushrooms, omitted the anchovies, added onions, substituted the pasta with rice and I'll totally make this again." That's not even the same soup anymore! How is that review going to help anyone wanting to make this?!
But, today I almost felt like one of those reviewers. I just kept reading the ingredient list over and over as if the missing ingredients would suddenly appear.
"No onions??? Is there really just swiss chard, beans and pasta?? What is going to make this so good?" I thought to myself.I ended up making a few minor adjustments (some based on lack of ingredients, some based on personal preference) and was pretty happy with this soup.
Adapted from "Soup: A way of Life" by Barbara Kafta via Epicurious
few tablespoons olive oil
4 large cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 pound swiss chard, chopped (separate stems from leaves)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary*
1/2 cup cooked chickpeas
4 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup orzo
1 heaping teaspoon miso paste**
salt and pepper to taste
finely grated parmesan (or in my case a local old gouda) cheese for serving
Begin by heating oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add garlic and sautee for a few minutes. Add chopped swiss chard stems and rosemary and cook for 5 more minutes or until chard becomes tender. Add chickpeas and cook until garlic begins to brown slightly. Add chard leaves and stock. Put a lid on the pot and let the chard wilt. Bring soup to a boil and add orzo. Boil for 5 minutes then reduce heat. Using a mug or bowl scoop out of bit of the stock and add the miso paste to the broth in the mug. Stir to dissolve then add miso mixture to soup (make sure all boiling has subsided**).
Add salt (I didn't need much) and pepper and taste.
Sprinkle cheese over a bowl of soup, pair with homemade bread and devour.
*The original recipe suggested 1/4 teaspoon of rosemary and even with a full teaspoon in there I felt like I didn't taste it enough. After having one bowl I added one sprig of rosemary to the pot to help give it a bit more rosemary flavour, and removed it after maybe 10 minutes or so.
**The original recipe also calls for anchovies. I really would have loved to make this with anchovies or even anchovy paste (as many reviewers said it was so crucial to the flavour), but today there was just no way I was going to walk to the store through the worst wind and rain just for that. According to the internet miso makes a decent substitution. If you make it with the anchovy please share some with me!
***Apparently bringing miso to a boil makes it bitter. I've never tested this theory, and don't really plan to. But if you have any experience with this, I'd love to know if it's true.