Lentil Soup with Swiss Chard & Lemon
Adapted from Classic Lebanese Cuisine: 170 Fresh and Healthy Mediterranean Favorites
Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30-45 minutes (can be made days before as the flavours will continue to develop)
4 cups (lightly packed) sliced Swiss Chard, thick stems, removed, rinsed and dried (Ruth’s notes: not to waste anything, just finely chop the tough stalks and add to onions to soften before adding the leaves. Not having any chard, I used the dark kale I had in the fridge – an excellent option)
½ cup brown lentils
4 cups water or (as I did) broth
½ tsp salt (divided in half)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cups yellow onions, diced
Freshly ground black pepper
2 large cloves garlic, minced
¾ cup fresh cilantro/coriander, coarsely chopped, leaves & tender stems
¾ tsp ground coriander
1½ tsp flour
2½ tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1. In a large pot over high heat, place the lentils, ¼ tsp salt and 4 cups of water or broth and cover. Once the water comes to a boil, lower the heat to medium low and simmer covered for 20 minutes.
2. In the meantime, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, chopped Swiss chard stems, if using, rest of the salt, freshly ground pepper and coriander. Sauté until the onions are translucent, brown and tender.
3. Once the onions are caramelized, add the minced garlic, cilantro, greens (Swiss chard or kale) and the flour. Cook, stirring occasionally until the greens have wilted (about 5 minutes) and remove from the heat.
4. Once the lentils are tender, add the greens and lemon juice to the pot and increase the heat to high. When the liquid comes to a boil, reduce to medium low and simmer for 15 minutes.
5. Remove from the heat, taste for seasoning and allow to cool for about 15 minutes. (Ruth’s note: I served this hot to my family and they enjoyed it, but next time I’ll try it the traditional way – served only slightly warm.) If the soup appears to thick, you can thin it down with boiling water, hot broth or more lemon juice.