Lima Bean Soup with Swiss Chard and Mushrooms

by Carol Peterman

This is a nice light bean soup with a hint of smoke from pimentón. If you have great fresh tomatoes during the summer you can use them in the place of canned, remember to peel and seed them.

Makes 6 servings

1 ½ cups dried lima beans
6 cups water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
¾ teaspoon salt, divided
3/4 pound mushrooms, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon pimentón (smoked paprika)
1 tablespoon herbs de Provence
1 cup dry white wine
1 - 28 ounce can plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 bunch Swiss chard, stems removed, chopped

Wash and sort through the dried beans to remove any foreign material. Place the dried beans and 4 cups of water in a medium sized bowl and let soak overnight. Drain and rinse the beans.

In a 6 quart sauce pan heat the oil, chopped onion and a pinch of salt over medium heat. Cook the onion for 5-6 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the sliced mushrooms and an additional pinch of salt. Continue to cook for 4-5 more minutes until the mushrooms release their water. Add the minced garlic and spices and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.

Deglaze the pan with the cup of wine. Bring to a boil and let reduce by at least half. Add the chopped tomatoes, soaked beans and stock. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and let cook for 1 ½ hours. Stir occasionally and test the doness of the beans starting at about 1 hour. Let the soup simmer until the beans have a soft creamy texture. Stir in the Swiss chard and cook an additional 5-10 minutes. Add the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt and adjust any of the other seasonings. Remove the bay leaf before serving.