A Great winter lentil soup To Start The Soup Season!
Its cold enough to start the soup season, how about a heart warming winter lentil soup ?
Lentils seem to go with just about anything and here they play well with a collection of greens and some cumin and coriander to add a gentle spicy note to this soup recipe. The result is a hearty winter soup with layers of flavor.
Both French green lentils (available in natural-foods stores and specialty markets) and more commonly available brown lentils are delicious in this soup. The French green lentils hold their shape better when cooked, while brown lentils will start to break down a bit
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
- 2 large yellow onions, chopped
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
- 2 tablespoons plus 4 cups water, divided
- 1 cup French green (Le Puy) or brown lentils
- 8 large green chard leaves
- 1 medium Yukon Gold potato, scrubbed
- 12 cups gently packed spinach (about 10 ounces), any tough stems trimmed
- 4 scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 5 cups vegetable broth, store-bought or homemade
- 2 cups chopped broccoli
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds, lightly toasted and ground (see Tip)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- 1/2 jalapeño pepper, minced
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
- Crumbled feta cheese for garnish
- Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add onions and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring frequently, until the onions begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add 2 tablespoons water and cover. Cook, stirring frequently until the pan cools down, and then occasionally, always covering the pan again, until the onions are greatly reduced and have a deep caramel color, 25 to 35 minutes.
- Meanwhile, rinse lentils and pick out any small stones; combine the lentils with the remaining 4 cups water in a soup pot or Dutch oven. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes. Trim the white ribs out of the chard; chop the greens and slice the ribs (keep in separate piles). Cut potato into 1/2 -inch dice. Chop spinach; set aside.
- When the lentils have cooked for 20 minutes, stir in the chard ribs, potato, scallions, broth and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt; return to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.
- Stir in the chard leaves, broccoli, cumin and coriander. When the onions are caramelized, stir a little of the simmering liquid into them; add them to the soup. Return to a simmer, cover and cook 5 minutes more. Stir in the reserved spinach, cilantro, mint, jalapeño and pepper; return to a simmer, cover and cook until the spinach is tender but still bright green, about 5 minutes more. Stir in 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Taste and add more lemon juice and/or pepper, if desired. Garnish each bowl of soup with a drizzle of olive oil and crumbled feta cheese.
TIPS & NOTES
- Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
- Tip: Toast cumin seeds in a skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Cool slightly. Grind to a fine powder in a spice mill, blender or clean coffee grinder.