This past year has been a year of lentil soup experiments, most of them failures -- too bland, none of which my husband (aka the world's pickiest eater and piscatarian) liked. Finally, I gave up on using the recipes I'd seen, and came up with something my husband actually enjoys (what are the odds?). Like many soups and stews, this is best aged for a day, to give the flavors a chance to mellow. (Served with cheese, soup is vegetarian; without cheese, vegan.) —louisez
green lentils, washed and sorted
large sweet onions, chopped
leeks (white parts), chopped
cloves garlic, minced
coarse salt (or more, to taste, when done)
In soup pot, heat oil over medium-low heat and saute onions, leeks, garlic, celery, carrots till onion is translucent. Add bay leaves, thyme, and red pepper and saute a few more minutes. Add mushrooms and cook till they've given up their liquid.
Add vegetable stock, tomatoes, and tomato paste. Mix well.
Add lentils. Bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer about 1 hour, or till lentils are just barely done.
Remove bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Add vinegar. Add kale and chard, and cook till done (this may take about 15-20 minutes). Taste for seasoning (keeping saltiness of cheese in mind if serving with cheese). Serve with Parmesan, if you wish.