We get some whopper winter storms, and on those days and nights, we plan meals that take advantage of items readily available (no trips to the store required).  This is a friendly recipe that welcomes numerous swaps, based on ingredients that you already have, but I must say that this combination – as written – is wonderfully satisfying.  It really hits the spot when the wind howls and the snow falls.


½ yellow onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 large stalk of celery, diced
½ jalapeno, minced
½ each, yellow and orange bell peppers, diced
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1 large clove garlic, whole
1 small zucchini
5 pieces Swiss / rainbow chard
1 pre-cooked smoked sausage (1 pound)
2 cans white beans, drained and rinsed (15 oz each)
4 cups beef broth
2 Tablespoons canola oil
Parmesan cheese

To prepare the chard, strip the leaves from the stalks.  Chop the stalks to a size similar to the carrots and celery.  Stack the leaves and cut them into thin ribbons.  Keep the leaves and stalks separate.

Cut the smoked sausage into bite-sized rounds.

Cut the zucchini in half long ways, then in half again, and cut large diced pieces.  Reserve the zucchini pieces with the chard leaves / ribbons.

In a large bowl, combine the onion, carrots, celery, jalapeno, bell peppers, chard stems, and garlic.

Drizzle 2 Tablespoons of canola oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot, and over medium high heat add the sausage pieces.  Cook for 2 minutes, stirring often, or until the sausage browns on both sides.  When the sausage is browned, remove from the pot.

Next, in the same pot, add the diced veggies and garlic and cook over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes or until slightly softened.  If the pot is too dry, add another splash of canola oil.   Make an open spot in the pot and add the tomato paste, and let it warm up for a minute.  Then mix with all the other veggies.

Add the sausage back to the pot (with cooked veg), and pour in the beef broth.  Simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.  Use a lid but don’t cover the pot completely.  Leave a small gap.  Stir occasionally.

After 30 minutes, add the white beans and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Now add the zucchini and the chard leaves, and simmer for another 15 minutes.  Taste for salt and temperature.  Add salt now if you wish.  Increase the heat / simmer for a hotter soup.

Ready to serve!  Top with grated parmesan cheese.

You can substitute spinach or kale for the chard.  
You can substitute cooked Italian sausage for the smoked sausage.  I recommend the smoked, because it saves you the trouble of cooking the sausage.  
You can use any kind of bean that you have available.  I recommend canned so that they are already soft.

March 9, 2017

Blizzard Stew

When Mother Nature blows in a blizzard,  we search the pantry and fridge for food combos that make us warm and fill us up.   Check out this big bowl of comfort!