JOANNA'S FOOD: family cooking, from scratch, every day

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Lentil soup with ruby chard

Lentil soup for lunch ... which needs careful cooking, because Lucius thinks he doesn't like lentils. He liked this soup, though. It's the autumn version of something I make quite often for a quick, cheap lunch - bosky with mushrooms and vibrant with chard.

Lentil soup with ruby chard

2 medium onions
5 handfuls of red lentils
splash of Marsala or other alcohol
dried mushrooms
good stock

Chop the onions and fry gently in olive oil until golden. Soak a few dried mushrooms in boiling water. Add red lentils - about the same quantity as onions. Stir. Add a splash of Marsala (or wine, or brandy, or whatever you've got - but don't worry if you haven't got anything suitable, it's not essential, but it does add a layer of complexity to the end result).

Drain the mushrooms and add them. Then pour in stock to cover all this, enough to fill two bowls. Measure it in your serving bowls if you like - this works because some of the liquid will evaporate as the soup simmers and cooks. I used chicken stock, which I make virtually every week, an effortless chore which produces something cheaper, better and tastier than anything you can buy. But this is not a competition, it's lunch, so use whatever you've got - homemade, cube/powder, water (and I'd use water in preference to powder/cube).

It takes around 15 minutes for the lentils to cook. During this time, shred some chard or other greens. Add them to the soup when it's ready, they only need to be wilted.

We ate this with a little rosemary citrus salt. Lucius remarked on the complexity of flavours, and barely appeared to notice that he was enjoying lentil soup.

Sorry, once again no photograph. This time because of incompetence: I forgot to switch off the camera yesterday, so the battery was flat, and I don't have a spare. Shame, because the ruby chard made it look so pretty, not that boring brown that is the look of so many lentil dishes.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the rosemary citrus salt recipe also! I will definitely try it. I have all the ingredients sitting around waiting to be combined. And your soup sounds like a fantastic lunch! Lucky Lucius. I usually am lazy and just open a can of Campbell's trusty but not so tasty soups!

Joanna said...

Hi Sue ... great to hear from you. I know what you mean about opening a can, it's easier, all the same, making a quick unblended soup is also pretty easy, especially once you get into the rhythm, so that you make the stock and/or fry the onions in advance. But there isn't always time to do everything ;) Glad you like the rosemary/citrus - I love it on everything and anything, but I don't always remember to make it


The Passionate Palate said...

I love lentil soup but have never tried a combination like this. Now I will as this looks hearty and delicious.

Katie Zeller said...

I keep meaning to get red lentils! They cook much faster and get much creamier/mushier then the little green ones. I love soup on days like today...and hate all the sodium in the boxed versions (we don't have Campbells)

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Joanna: Somethings simply can’t be improved upon and your phrase
But this is not a competition, it's lunch, so use whatever you've got . . .
That is so perfect! Really like the sound of this; I am a great lover of lentil soup for so many reasons and must try the rainbow kale next time. Now must check the rosemary citrus salt.

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

This sounds really good! I picked up a bag of red lentils in Waitrose last week, along with some split peas to make ham and peas pudding. I hadn't realised red lentils were so easy or quick to cook.

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Oh! The leaks don't sound good. Hope you manage to sort those out quickly.