I am in a soup mood. It has been a few years since I have been in a soup mood. What does it mean to be in a soup mood? Soups, and lots of them. My family must brace for many dinners of soups and stews.
First up for the blog… Yotam Ottolenghi’s Red Lentil and Chard Soup. Served with a whole grain sourdough bread I made. This one was one of my favorites so far, and one that I put the most “me” into rather than simply following the recipe.
But back to the soup. I really like this one. I am usually not a big fan of red lentils, but they work very well with the chard, creating a nice contrast of textures.
Red Lentil and Swiss Chard Soup
very slightly adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Red Lentil and Chard Soup
1 lb split red lentils
2.75 quarts cold water
2 medium red onions
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 lb Swiss chard
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp coriander seeds
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
Grated zest of ½ lemon
3 lemons, cut into wedges
Salt and black pepper
Wash the lentils in plenty of cold water. Place in a large saucepan with the water, bring to a boil and simmer for 35 minutes or until soft (mine was soft in 20 minutes). Skim off any foam that rises to the surface during cooking. Using a slotted spoon, remove about half the lentils from the cooking liquid and set aside in a bowl.
Add a generous pinch of salt to the lentils and water in the pan and liquidise using a stick blender or in a food processor. Return the reserved lentils to the soup.
While the lentils are cooking, peel the red onions, halve and thinly slice them. Place a frying pan over a medium heat, add the olive oil and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4–5 minutes, until the onions soften and become translucent.
Meanwhile, remove and discard the large stems from the Swiss chard. Wash and rinse the leaves thoroughly, then chop them roughly.
Mix the cooked onions and chard leaves into the lentil soup and season with the cumin, cinnamon and some salt and pepper to taste. Reheat the soup and simmer gently for 5 minutes.
In a pestle and mortar, or using the heel of a large knife, crush the coriander seeds and garlic together.
Melt the butter gently in a small saucepan over a medium heat, add the garlic and coriander seeds and fry for 2 minutes, until the garlic starts to color slightly (I used the pan from frying the onions, it worked well). Stir this into the soup, remove the pot from the stove and cover with a lid. Leave the soup to infuse for 5 minutes before serving.
Serve garnished with lemon zest and pass round some sourdough bread and lemon wedges. Squeeze the lemon into their soup – it adds tremendous flavor. Enjoy!