Given this region’s recent deep freeze, even the hardiest of chard growing in the most cleverly constructed high tunnel or greenhouse is likely to have been stunted by the subzero temperatures. For this recipe at this time of year, you can certainly substitute heartier local kale or quick-growing local spinach. Any winter squash you can peel and dice will work just fine. And if you don’t have a can of chickpeas in the pantry, any cooked local legume can easily take its place.

Serves 4

3 tablespoons olive oil

4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced

1 1/2 cup day-old bread, cut into 1-inch pieces

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 1/2 cups peeled and diced butternut squash

4 cups vegetable or chicken broth

3 sprigs of thyme and/or rosemary, tied in a bunch

1 (2-inch) piece of Parmesan rind

1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas

2 cups of chopped chard (leaves and stems)

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil over medium heat in a 6-quart pot. Add the garlic. Stir to separate any slices that may have stuck together. Cook them until they just start to turn golden, 30 to 60 seconds. Use a slotted spoon to remove the garlic and set aside. Add the bread to the pot, turn the heat to medium high, and cook the croutons until they are golden brown on all sides, 3 to 4 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the croutons to a piece of recycled paper bag to drain.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the onions to the pot. Once they have softened, about 3 minutes, add the squash. Cook stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the broth, herbs and rind. Simmer until the squash is cooked, about 12 minutes. Stir in the reserved garlic slices, chickpeas and chard and cook until chard is wilted, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove the herb stems and cheese rind before serving the soup hot, garnished with the croutons.

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