Tuscan White Bean, Pumpkin, and Swiss Chard Soup

Suggest Wine Pairing: Sangiovese

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 cups chopped yellow onion

3 bay leaves

2 stalks of celery, chopped

4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 two-pound whole sugar pumpkin, halved, seeds scooped out, flesh peeled, and cut into 1-inch chunks (resulting in 3 1/2 cups or 1 pound of chunks)

8 cups vegetable stock

1 15-ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes, drained or 1 large fresh, ripe tomato, peeled and chopped

6 sprigs of thyme, tied with string (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)

2 15-ounce cans of cannellini white beans, rinsed and drained

4 large Swiss chard leaves (can substitute kale), center rib removed, leaves roughly chopped

Freshly ground black pepper to taste


Directions:

1. Sauté onions, bay leaves, celery, garlic: Heat the olive oil on medium heat in a large, thick-bottomed pot (5 to 6 quart). Add the onion and the bay leaves and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until slightly softened. Add the chopped celery, cook for 2 to 3 more minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for a minute more.

2. Add pumpkin, stock, tomatoes, thyme: Add the chopped pumpkin. Add the stock, tomatoes, and thyme. Increase heat and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer, uncovered. Let simmer until pumpkin is tender, about 25 min.

3. Add the white beans and cook for 15 minutes. Add the chopped chard; simmer until chard is wilted, then add a few more minutes to the cooking time.

4. Salt/Pepper to taste