Chard and Lentil Soup
Versions of this delicious soup can be found all around the Mediterranean. You could use any greens or a mixture of whatever you find in the market. The potato breaks down a bit and adds a nice body to the soup. The spice in the soup is a nice match to the spiciness of the Russian River Valley Pinot Noir.
Total Time 30 minutes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Difficulty Level Easy
1 c green or other dark lentils such as lentils du puy or beluga
Kosher or sea salt
2 qt vegetable or chicken stock, or water
4 tbsp fragrant extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 c chopped onion
3 tbsp finely chopped garlic
1 c chopped celery, plus leaves for garnish
1 tbsp toasted cumin seed, crushed
1/2 tsp fennel seed
5 c gently packed chopped Swiss chard leaves, tough middle vein discarded
1 medium russet potato, peeled and diced
1/3 c freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp dried mint
Aleppo pepper or freshly ground black pepper
Wash and pick over the lentils. Place lentils in a deep saucepan and cover with the stock or lightly salted water. Bring to a boil and skim off any foam that surfaces then lower heat and cook gently for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile in a large skillet, add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and gently cook the onion, garlic and celery till soft and just beginning to brown.
Add the cumin and fennel seed and cook for a couple of minutes more.
Add to the lentils along with the chard and potato and simmer for 20 – 25 minutes more or until lentils are tender and potato is very soft and mixture is thick and soupy.
Stir in the lemon juice and dried mint and add salt and pepper to your taste.
Serve hot, lukewarm or cool topped with celery leaves and a drizzle of remaining olive oil.