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Autumn Vegetable Soup

Succulent white beans, sweet winter squash and bright chard simmer together in this meatless main-course soup. It’s the perfect dish to make in the fall when the hard-shelled squashes appear at the market. Serve with hunks of hearty bread.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 Tbs. minced fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 lb. hard-shelled squash such as butternut, peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth, plus more as needed
  • 1 can (15 oz.) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, tough stems removed, leaves coarsely chopped

Directions:

In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion, bell pepper, rosemary and red pepper flakes, and sauté until the onion and bell pepper are tender, about 12 minutes. Add the squash, season with salt and black pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until the surface of the squash starts to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the 4 cups broth and the beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender, about 25 minutes.

Add the chard and simmer until wilted, about 3 minutes. Thin the soup with more broth if desired. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and black pepper. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

Quick Tips: Vary this basic recipe throughout the fall and winter by adding more broth for a thinner soup and less for a thicker version; including sausages for a richer soup; and substituting different vegetables and beans depending on what you find at the market or have on hand. Leftover pasta, meat or chicken adds great flavor. The tastes deepen each time this soup is reheated.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Weeknight Fresh & Fast, by Kristine Kidd (Williams-Sonoma, 2011).