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Author Notes: 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
- 1 pound green lentils, washed and sorted
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 large sweet onions, chopped
- 2 leeks (white parts), chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt (or more, to taste, when done)
- 2 teaspoons pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced or chopped
- 8 stalks celery, chopped (leaves chopped as well)
- 4 carrots, chopped
- 3 quarts vegetable broth
- 1 32-oz. can crushed tomatoes
- 1 4-oz. can tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons red wine or sherry vinegar
- 1 10-oz. pkg. frozen kale
- 1 10-oz. pkg. frozen rainbow chard
- grated Parmesan, to top soup (optional)
- 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.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best One-Pot Meal
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Dark, Leafy Greens