Ordinarily I wouldn’t dare post a food-type thing on the likes of this site. It’s not what I do and I know some culinary badasses who do a far superior job blogging about food (like Hilah Cooking! and A Charmed Wife - if you haven’t already, do yourself a favor and check out their awesome sites). However, a few years back my friend Kelly Sue gave me a recipe for her Rock Star Lentil Soup and it remains the best lentil soup I’ve ever tasted. I’ve made a few (very slight) modifications over time – mainly because I am super disorganized and no longer possess the original recipe…but I swear it tastes the same – every time that I make it (which is often), the people lucky enough to eat it ask for the recipe.
So without further ado, I present The Pancake Version of Kelly Sue’s Rock Star Lentil Soup:
7-8 cups chicken stock (you can use vegetable if you want to keep this vegetarian, but I like using Better Than Bouillon chicken base)
1 white or yellow onion (diced)
2 large potatoes (I leave the skin on and make 1″ cubes)
1-2 cloves garlic (minced)
2 bunches swiss chard (stemmed and cut into strips – I have used kale instead before and I like it too, feel free to experiment with your bitter greens)
1 1/2 cup of red lentils (rinsed and drained, check for stones and unwanted bits - you can also use green lentils*, but the cooking time is longer and I don’t think they taste nearly as good)
1 Tbl ground cumin seeds (you can use pre-ground cumin too – you can also use more or less, the original recipe used less I think and if you REALLY like cumin you can use more…I don’t know your life)
1 lemon (juiced)
1 Tbl olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
So go ahead and get your stock up to a boil in a large pot, once that is going add the potatoes and turn the heat down to low and cover the pot. Leave the potatoes cooking for 20 minutes and then add the red lentils for an additional 20 minutes. Add the swiss chard for the last 10 minutes of cooking and while you have that going, you will notice that you still have an onion, garlic, olive oil, cumin and lemon sitting on your counter-top looking forlorn and unwanted and you will wonder if I have left out a huge chunk of important information about the soup in error - but rest assured, you will add them all in good time**. Like in 5 minutes. Heat your olive oil in a skillet (I like cast iron) and saute your onion for about two minutes before adding the garlic and cumin – in total for about 5 minutes. Add this onion/cumin/garlic mixture plus the juice of a whole lemon during the last five minutes of cooking. Taste it – but don’t burn yourself – and add anything that you think it needs (it won’t hurt my feelings)…now you have soup!
I serve mine in a bowl (traditional) with crusty bread and lemon wedges (I like a shit ton of lemon in my lentil soup).
*if you go with the green lentils, you will want to add them first and cook them for about 30 minutes before adding the potato, which in turn will need about a half hour on it’s own before you start adding the other stuff in. The chard should cook for about 10 minutes total and you still want to add your garlic, onion, cumin and lemon juice for the last five minutes…I am bad with math so you will have to work this timing thing out on your own….
**I made this soup the other day and I was kind of foggy and space-y in my brain space and I actually sauteed the onions, garlic and cumin FIRST before adding the chicken stock. I couldn’t detect any difference and everything worked out fine!