Thursday, May 13, 2010

And I was just going to make scrambled eggs: Le Chef’s Braised Chard Soup with Poached Egg

I understand many people experience great satisfaction in hunting down recipes in which to use their weekly Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) produce delivery. I wish I were one of those people… instead, I suffer from CSA related anxiety (not to be confused with CRS related anxiety- I’ve got that, too).

While I want to be supportive of my work’s CSA program to ensure that it continues, I don’t order as often as I feel I should. The problem is that I get overwhelmed by the amount and variety of produce received and I wind up packing everything into the fridge to be dealt with later. Then, after a few days have passed and the produce is starting to look a little past its prime, I start stressing out about using it up before it goes bad.

Another problem that contributes to my CSA related anxiety is that I’m a baker and not so much of a cook. I appreciate those folks who both bake and cook with equal aplomb, but I am not in their ranks.

That being said, I do enjoy cooking. In fact, the more I bake, the greater the pleasure I get from cooking. I find it freeing to dispense with measuring cups and just add ingredients (more or less) willy nilly. I still, however, need a recipe to serve as a general guide to technique and ingredients. I am not, and probably will never be, a cook who can whip up a spectacular meal with whatever formerly unappetizing ingredients were lingering in the back of the refrigerator bins. Le Chef, fortunately, is a master of the art.

So last night, while foraging for dinner, I was bemoaning that the chard from our CSA delivery was on its last leg and was verbally contemplating how braised chard would go with scrambled eggs. (We’re lucky to live right around the corner from Green Gate Farms and have ready access to delicious farm eggs.)

After listening to my lament, Le Chef decided to take matters into his own hands. Voila! He took my poor, forlorn chard and turned it into a lovely braised chard soup topped with a poached egg with a lemon zest, parsley, and olive oil garnish. It was delish and he made it look so easy, I think I could do it myself.

And now I can, since I have the recipe.

Le Chef’s Braised Chard Soup

1/4 c olive oil
1 c diced, smoked ham
1/2 c yellow onion, chopped
½ c carrot, diced
1 T of shaved garlic
2 c chicken broth
1 c white wine
3 bay leaves
2 sprigs thyme
2 cardamom pods, whole
freshly ground salt and cracked black pepper, to taste
red pepper flake, to taste

poached egg
lemon zest
parsley, chopped

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and add ham, carrots, onions, and garlic. Sauté until tender and slightly brown. Add chard and wilt. Deglaze pan with white wine. Add broth, herbs, and seasonings and bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Simmer approximately 40 minutes until flavors begin to meld. Serve with a soft, poached egg and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and freshly grated lemon zest, cracked black pepper, and parsley.


  1. Oh, you and Le Chef have the best combination of skills EVER. Jealous. I both bake and cook with equal in, I do neither well. This soup looks fantastic!

  2. It was pretty darn good!

    From the pics on Twitter, it looks like you had a good time in Seattle. Hope you'll be posting about your trip soon!

  3. I'm drooling while I eat my roasted broccoli and red peppers, and my spinach and my spinach and portabella saute. That is what I do with almost dead produce (and Brian is working late). I'm sure an egg would have worked somewhere in there...

  4. It's so much easier when the boys don't have to be fed. Honestly, I could probably just eat cereal for dinner (high fiber with organic milk, of course) if it weren't for living with Eric. Does that make me more of less evolved than my Mother?

    And I know what an amazing cook you are, Ellen, so I know your roasted veggies were delicious, dead (or not) produce be damned!

  5. This looks beautiful. I'm moving soon and have been lazy to cook just for one. But with a new roomie, maybe I shall use your website as my intro to cooking :)