Monday, October 08, 2012

Lentil, Chorizo, Swiss Chard & Mushroom Soup

Printable Recipe

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 90 minutes to 2 1/2 hours (I love to let it cook for 2 hours and then just turn the burner off but let it sit there until it cools on its own to package for freezing.  2 cup containers make for perfect 1-2 portions whenever the craving for hearty soup grabs you.)
Serves 8-10 Freezes well

Note:  All the ingredients are simply guess-timates, simply look in your fridge or at the local market for what's there.  (3-4 cups root vegetables plus any greens)

2 tbsp olive oil
2-3 links of fresh chorizo sausage, (or your favorite fresh sausage) See Step 1 for how to make them into meatballs quickly
3-4 leeks, light green and white parts only, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
2 large carrots, grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
2-3 parsnips, grated (about 1 cup)
1/2 fennel root, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
1 cup Swiss Chard stalks, chopped
2-3 cups Swiss chard leaves, coarsely chopped
2 cups cremini mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1 cup dried wild mushrooms, reconstituted in boiling water and coarsely chopped.  RESERVE THE LIQUID to add to the broth
4 cups/1 liter chicken broth
2 cups green lentils, washed in strainer (pick out any stones)
1 tin (14oz/450ml) diced tomatoes in their juice (I like fire roasted)
1 small bunch of fresh thyme sprigs or 1-2 tsp dried thyme
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
 water  (2" higher than soup fixings)
2" rind of hard cheese like Manchego or Parmegianno Regianno 
1/2 dried chorizo sausage (I had a hard piece in the fridge which added a mellow flavor)
Salt & pepper to taste
Dash or two of apple cider vinegar (when serving – optional)

1. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or large soup pot on medium high heat. Slide small balls of fresh chorizo out of casings into the pot (size - about 1 tsp).  Once all the "meat balls" are in the pot, shake the pot to keep them form sticking.  Once browned, add the leeks and mushrooms, adding a little more oil if needed.  Saute until the leeks soften and the mushrooms start to golden.

2. Grate and slice the vegetables separately so they are the same consistency during cooking.  I use a food processor to speed things up - not to mention that my Honey and grandsons don't think they're fond of veggies.  Oh, the tricks I do!  Note:  save the Swiss chard leaves for step #5.

3. In the meantime, soak the dried mushrooms in enough boiling water to cover.  (15 minutes or so.  They should be soft by the time the rest of the vegetables are softened a bit).  Drain, reserving the liquid to add to the soup along with the broth.  Coarsely chop the mushrooms.

4. Add all the chopped/grated vegetables, diced tomatoes and their juice, garlic, the thyme springs.  Toss well and cook for 15 minutes or so to soften a bit and meld the flavours.  Add liquid (broth & mushroom liquid) and bring to a gentle boil.

5. Add the rind, Swiss chard leaves and dried chorizo.  Reduce heat to low and cook for at least 45 minutes.  I like to let it simmer for a couple of hours).  Add water as needed to get the consistency you like.  Remember that the lentils and veg will absorb liquid, so start with enough water to cover everything by two inches.

6.  Taste for seasonings and add some apple cider vinegar.  You could add about 1/4 cup to the pot, stir well and let it cook uncovered for 5 minutes to absorb it or else the soup will taste very vinegary.  Or you could drizzle a bit over each bowl at serving.  I prefer the first method.

No comments: