Recipe: Lentil soup with carrots and kale

lentil soup RusticKitchen With brisk weather I feel like a heartwarming soup.  And boy, our weather has turned so frigid that Lauro wonders if he should break out his arctic-ready parka. 

I’m not ready for snow just yet, but the chilly weather makes me want to curl up with soup (and a nice mystery book) and this one couldn’t be easier to make: a melange of what’s in the fridge, with a little vinegar for brightness. 

I learned from Stefano – the fantastic restaurateur from Sheboygan – that the perfect way to achieve a robust soup is to puree half, making something like a gravy to thicken the broth.

And it’s so healthy and light that I feel perfectly entitled to splurge with a drizzle of fruity olive oil to finish it off. 

Don’t skip this step – the flavor will permeate the soup and make you feel quite indulgent.

Brown lentil soup with carrots and kale

Makes about six cups

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

3 carrots, diced

4 cups vegetable broth, chicken stock or water

1 cup dry lentils, rinsed

1/4 cup cider vinegar

2 generous cups chopped kale

Salt and pepper to taste

Shredded Parmesan or other hard cheese, for serving

Olive oil, for serving

Preheat a large saucepan over medium high heat.  Add oil and onions and saute until translucent, about five minutes.  Sprinkle with salt.  Add carrots, lentils, vinegar and broth, bring to a simmer and cook until the lentils are just tender.  Try not to overcook because they will break apart. 

Pour about half the soup into a blender and puree until smooth.  Return to the saucepan.  (Or you can use an immersion blender.  Stir in kale and cook another minute or two until the kale is bright and just tender.  Season with salt and pepper.  Ladle into soup bowls and top with shredded cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.  Enjoy in front of the fire.

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