Something about winter makes me crave hearty stews. This Chard and White Bean Stew is my favorite. It’s packed full of good-for-you veggies and definitely not short on flavor. This stew is tangy, rich, and filling, and great fresh or as leftovers. I’ve been making it for several years and it’s still my go-to during the cold months. If I had a signature dish, this would be it. I’ve adapted it from Smitten Kitchen (my favorite food blog). My version mostly involves adding shortcuts and cooking everything longer (G likes his vegetables more soft than crunchy and I find the flavors really meld together if it is cooked longer). One pot is more than enough for the two of us with leftovers (it probably serves about 4-5) but sometimes I double it to give us both lunches for the week.
Chard and White Bean Stew
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
About 1 cup chopped onion (yellow is best, I usually chop as much as I can stand before my eyes start burning, then give up)
2 tsp. of Penzey’s Minced Garlic (or 3 fresh garlic cloves)
1 cup dry white wine (I use the cheapest Chardonnay I can find)
2 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups (or more to taste) vegetable or chicken broth (I use water and 1Tbsp. of Penzey’s Vegetable or Chicken Soup Bases)
1/4 cup tomato paste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 to 1 tsp. dried thyme (depending on how strong you want it)
1 bay leaf
1 bunch of Swiss chard (can also swap kale or another “tougher” green)
Grated Parmesan to serve (optional)
Sherry or Balsamic Vinegar to serve (optional, I used Pomegranate White Balsamic Vinegar from here)
In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium. Add carrots, celery, onion, and garlic and saute for 20-25 minutes (less if you like your veggies crunchy). Add wine and cook until it is reduced by three-fourths. Add beans, broth, tomato paste, a pinch of salt (you may want to skip this if you’re using really salty broth), a few grinds of black pepper, thyme, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 30-60 minutes (I like it to cook for around 45 minutes but it can cook longer if needed. This is when the flavors really blend together).
While the stew is cooking, rinse the chard and tear into 1- 1 1/2 inch pieces, removing the stems and large ribs. When the stew is nearly done, add the chard and cook for about 5 minutes more. It will seem like there is too much chard for the stew, but it will cook down. If your stew is a little thick, this is a good time to add extra water to thin it. Remove the bay leaf. Add more salt and pepper if needed.
Serve this Chard and White Bean Stew with grated Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of vinegar.
This Chard and White Bean Stew is soooo good and I swear it gets better every time I make it (last time G actually said it was exquisite). I really like the blend of flavors and how colorful it looks while cooking. I like to serve slices of baguette with olive oil and cheese with this for a hearty, filling winter meal.