Saturday, January 19, 2013

Spicy Red Lentil and Chard Soup

Red Lentil and Chard Soup being stirred in a pot

Continuing the New Year focus on frugal cooking that is still healthy and tasty, I spied half a bag of red lentils languishing toward the back of a pantry shelf. Time for some soup! I enjoy a variety of lentil soups, but hadn't made one yet this winter. I started by looking at a Food & Wine recipe, but pretty quickly set off on my own direction. Chard was on sale, so I added that to add nutrition and turned the soup greenish. I think the photo looks a bit better above than the pureed version I served, but I prefer the consistency of the latter. The spice blend was just the right mix to create an interesting flavor without being overwhelming. Definitely a soup worth trying in your kitchen! This is a good option for vegans.

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 celery stock, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups lentils
4 cups vegetable broth
3 cups water
1 bunch chard (reserve 2 leaves for future use if you have a big bunch)
bay leaf
couple handfuls baby spinach
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
good pinch cinnamon
1/2 tsp chili powder
salt and pepper to taste

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large pot on medium medium heat. Add the onion, cook for a few minutes until it begins to soften. Add the carrots and celery, followed by the garlic. Cook for another minute or two, then stir in the lentils with the other tbsp of olive oil. Add the dried spices at this time, including a bit of salt to taste.


Stir the lentils with the onion and spice mixture for a few minutes until the lentils are well coated. Add the broth and water bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Add the bay leaf, and cook uncovered for about 15 minutes until lentils just begin to soften. Stir in the chard, and simmer until the chard is well softened, about 15 minutes more.

When the chard is cooked, remove the soup from the heat and puree--ideally with your handheld blender! Alternatively, puree in batches in a food processor. Return soup to the stove, heat gently and stir in the spinach leaves until they begin to wilt. The spinach isn't essential to the taste, but it does add a nice consistency. You're now ready to enjoy your flavorful soup!


2 comments:

zerrin said...

Lentil soup is one of my favorites and I didn't know that it is made in other cuisines too. The vegetables we use with lentil in Turkish cuisine are potato, onion and carrot. Never thought of adding something green. Chard is a great addition! I guess I would love the pureed version too, I like my soup that way. Thanks for the idea!

David said...

Belated thanks for the comment, Zerrin. Yes, I guess lentils are used lots of different ways. The recipe that inspired my soup was Egyptian but then I added some tweeks of my own. I enjoy lentils in Indian cuisine, too.