Chard and Yogurt Soup

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Appears in

A Canon of Vegetables

A Canon of Vegetables

By Raymond Sokolov

Published 2007

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This Egyptian soup recipe eschews stalks and leaf veins. Even the simplest treatment of chard entails cooking the stalks and ribs separately from the leaves. For example, the leaves can be steamed like spinach, while the stalks and veins can be chopped and sautéed like celery. This offers the choice of serving the leaves at one meal and the stalks and veins at another or, in a modern twist, serving them together as a kind of vegetable pun. Either way, chard offers you a twofer (unless, of course, you want to make a separate dish out of the veins, a naturally julienned oddment that one guest in ten thousand will identify for what it is).


  • 2 pounds chard (to yield 1 pound leaves)
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 leek, white part only, washed and sliced in thin rounds
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¾ cup long-grain rice, washed and drained
  • Salt and pepper
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 cups yogurt
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and pushed through a garlic press


  1. Trim away the white stems from the chard leaves. Then cut the central vein out of the leaves. Set the leaves aside. Either discard the stems and veins or, much better, thriftier and wiser, sauté them in butter as a vegetable side dish.
  2. Sauté the onion and the leek in olive oil until lightly colored. Add the trimmed chard leaves and cook until wilted, stirring.
  3. Transfer the chard mixture to a large pot. Add 5 cups of water, the rice, salt and pepper to taste, and the turmeric. Bring to a boil and simmer until the rice is al dente, at least 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, stir the yogurt and garlic together in a bowl. When the rice is done, stir the yogurt into the soup. When you are ready to serve the soup, heat but do not boil it. Yogurt curdles when boiled.

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