Red Chard, Potato and White Bean Stew

This comforting stew makes a hearty meal when served with a salad and crusty bread. This is much like my Rustic Cabbage Soup; both are delicious and well worth trying.

2 cans white beans (rinsed & drained)

32 oz of  vegetable broth  or (low sodium chicken broth for you non-vegetarians)

1 bay leaf

1 generous bunch red chard (3/4 to 1 pound)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 to 4 garlic cloves (to taste), sliced

1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/2-inch dice

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

Freshly ground pepper

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving

Rinse and drain the beans and combine with 1 quart of chicken broth and bay leaf in a casserole or Dutch oven. Bring to a simmer. Meanwhile, stem and clean the red chard leaves in 2 changes of water. Rinse the stems and dice. Set aside. Cut the leaves in ribbons, or coarsely chop, and set aside. Heat the olive oil in a heavy nonstick skillet over medium heat and add the onion and chard stems. Cook, stirring often, until tender, about 5 minutes, add the garlic and continue to cook, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the potatoes and stir together, then transfer to the pot with the beans. Bring back to a simmer, cover and simmer 30 minutes, or until the potatoes and beans are tender. Remove bay leaf then add the chard and thyme leaves to the pot, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. The chard should be very tender. Stir in freshly ground pepper and salt to taste. Fresh grated Parmesan sprinkled on the top.

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