This is a hearty soup that my whole family enjoys. It’s a great way to use up the Swiss chard we receive in our CSA order and tastes even better as leftovers. It can easily be doubled, but be sure to use a large pot — I always find this makes more than I expect!
Lentils or split peas can easily be substituted for the mung beans, and the Swiss chard can be exchanged for spinach or other fresh greens. Vegetarians can omit the chicken without sacrificing flavour.
It makes approximately 6 main dish servings. Add a slice or two of garlic bread and you’ve a fairly substantial meal-in-a-bowl!
750 g boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups mung beans
4 tbsp toasted sesame oil
2 onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
6 cups water or chicken broth
750 g Swiss chard, rinsed and roughly chopped
1.5 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp dried cilantro
salt and pepper, to taste
lemon juice, to taste
Spread the beans on a plate and pick through them carefully, removing any small stones or other debris. Rinse with cold water and let drain.
Using a medium saucepan, brown chicken breasts in 2 Tbsp oil over medium-low heat. Remove chicken from pan to cool. Cut into cubes when cool.
Heat the remaining oil in the saucepan. Add onion and sauté over medium-low heat until golden — if you wish to use the Swiss chard stalks, roughly chop them and add them to the pan. Add the garlic and sauté briefly. Add mung beans and 5 cups of water to the pan, adding remaining cup of water if the soup becomes too thick. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer over low heat for about 40 minutes.
Add the chicken, chard, cumin, cilantro, salt and pepper and simmer until the beans and chard are tender. Adjust the seasonings and add some lemon juice to give the soup a refreshing “zip”.