Very Green Lentil Soup

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Hello!  I hope everyone is staying nice and warm. It is freezing here and has been all week.  We haven't been above freezing in days and we have another couple ahead of us.  Thank goodness we are warming up a bit this week. I am such a wimp I don't even consider getting outside.  At least my house is toasty warm. 

Domino often finds a little warm spot to stay in as well! So let's see... I've been thinking about 2018 and what I would like to do. I thought I wouldn't make resolutions or pick a "word" for the year.  (You can read about choosing a word rather than making resolutions here.) Then the other morning, a word came to me.  I wasn't even thinking about it and it popped into my head.  Generous.  Generous with my time.  With money.  With praise. With kindness. With conversation. With forgiveness.  With connections. With gifts.  With assuming the best. With giving the benefit of the doubt. So many ways to be generous, right? 

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I think my word found me, rather than me finding my word.  In other thoughts, for this year I plan to work at least the first Saturday of the month with hospice; to volunteer more with our women's homeless shelter before it closes 3/31/18 -  I'm aiming for once a week if possible (lots of shifts are taken which is a good thing!); work more at the church (I serve and clean up from Wednesday parish dinner once a month, and work with flower guild once a month or so); do some hospice continuing nursing education; eat the stockpile of food in my pantry and simplify! travel to Houston, Paris, and some European Christmas market; visit with family once a month; go to the beach! go to the mountains!  listen to more music, read more books, do more needlepoint;  I joined the Food52 Cookbook Club (read here) in an effort to get me to cook with more variety.  Of course, I want to blog more, and spend more time with friends!  Hugely busy list, right?!  It goes without saying that there will be less tv if I want to do all these things!  I think 2018 is going to be a great year.

 Paris! 

Paris! 

On the cooking front, I made this delicious soup for the Christmas weekend.  My mom came to Winston-Salem, and we had this for lunch on Christmas Eve.  It is so good for you, full of spinach, collards, broccoli, and lentils, but tastes amazing.  It is bright with lemon juice and herbs, but comforting and filling. It if perfect for this time of year.  The recipe is adapted from a recipe by Anna Thomas. I got this from a magazine a long time ago, but she has an amazing cookbook full of all kinds of delicious soups....all vegetarian. 

It's easy to make but is a little fuzzy in that you caramelize the onions separately and add them into the soup later.  Be sure to add the lemon at the end.  It brightens it up.  Mom and I both ate this as leftovers and it saves well. I think it helps to add a little more lemon each time you eat it.  I hope you'll try it! 

Very Green Lentil Soup

by Catherine Craig

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Keywords: soup/stew vegan vegetarian gluten-free broccoli collard greens lentils fall winter

Ingredients (6-8 servings)

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large yellow onions, chopped
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons salt, divided
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup brown lentils
  • 4 cups water
  • 8 large collard leaves
  • 1 large Yukon Gold potato, scrubbed
  • 10 ounces baby spinach
  • 4 scallions, sliced
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups broccoli, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
  • ½ jalapeno, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • to taste salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add onions and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add 2 tablespoons of water and cover. Cook, until the onions are reduced and deeply browned, about 25 to 35 minutes. Stir occasionally and add more water if the pan gets too dry and the onions start to stick.

While onions are cooking, rinse the lentils and pick out any stones. Combine with 4 cups of water in a large soup pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until the lentils are tender, about 20 minutes.

Cut the thick center vein out of the collard leaves. Cut the veins into small pieces and set aside. Stack the collard leaves and roll into a large cigar. Cut into thin ribbons and set aside. Dice the potato into 1/2 inch pieces.

When the lentils have cooked for 20 minutes, stir in the collard leaves and veins, potatoes, scallions, broth and 1 teaspoon of salt. Return to a simmer, cover and cook 15 minutes.

Add the broccoli, cumin, and coriander. When the onions are caramelized, add them to the soup. Cover and cook 5 minutes.

Stir in the spinach, cilantro, mint, jalapeño and some freshly ground pepper. Return to a simmer, cover and cook about 5 minutes, until the spinach is tender but still bright green.

Stir in the lemon juice. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust as needed. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil.

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