This is a hearty but healthy soup that you can make in just about an hour (and a lot of that time is just letting the soup simmer). A really good dish for cold fall and winter nights.
This makes four hearty servings.
2 T. olive oil
1 small red onion (you can substitute yellow onion), diced
1 bunch swiss chard, preferably red (but that’s just for the color)
1 medium carrot, cut into ¼” dice
2 large or 3 small cloves of garlic, minced
2 sprigs of fresh thyme or 1 t. dried thyme
⅔ cup french green lentils (can substitute black lentils or even regular lentils, but the soup will be muddier)
5 cups of low-sodium chicken stock or water
½ t. red pepper flakes (also called crushed red pepper, can substitute hot sauce if needed)
salt and pepper, to taste
4 T. grated parmagian reggiano (or other hard cheese that you like)
- Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot over medium-low heat. Add the diced onion and cook for a minute or two, then add the carrot. Cook the two together until the onion is translucent (about 5 minutes more).
- While the onion is cooking, cut the stems from the bottom of the chard leaves. Trim off the end and cut about half of them (depending on thickness) into 1/4″ thick half moon slices (like you would slice celery). There should be a little more of the chard stems than of the carrot. Rinse the cut pieces to remove and grit and add the sliced chard stems and the minced garlic to the pot and sauté for a minute or two. Season with red pepper flakes and salt and pepper to taste (it will definitely need salt).
- While the chard is sautéing, rinse the lentils and remove any stones.
- Add the lentils and the 5 cups of stock or water to the pot and increase heat to medium high to bring the soup to a gentle boil. Reduce heat and simmer covered until the lentils are cooked (15 to 30 minutes depending on the type of lentils).
- While the soup is simmering, remove the chard leaves from the stem rib that runs up the middle, roll 3 or 4 leaves together cigar fashion and slice across to create a big chiffonade. When all the chard has been sliced, wash in a salad spinner or in a bowl with several changes of cold water and drain.
- Increase the heat to bring the soup back to a boil
- Add the chard and cook for 5 minutes or so until it has wilted and been incorporated into the soup.
- Adjust salt and pepper to taste and top each bowl with 1 T. of grated parmagian.