The calendar says fall and the abundance of summer veggies has tapered off…so it’s time to start making hearty soups again! Yesterday my husband and I had lunch at the Lebanese Taverna where they serve a wonderful Lentil Soup (Shorba Addas) that’s rich in spinach and spiced with lemon, garlic, and cilantro. With this soup on my brain today, I picked out a Food and Wine recipe to make a lentil soup like the Lebanese Taverna’s – but different and, in my opinion, even better.
This recipe makes a LOT of soup, so you will have plenty left over to give to friends or freeze – or both!
2 cups lentils, picked over and rinsed
16 cups water (yes, 16 cups!)
3 tablespoons Better Than Bouillon Organic Chicken Base (or Vegetarian No Chicken Base)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 very large onions, diced
2 pinches of crushed red pepper
3 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
1 bunch organic kale (curly variety), stemmed and torn into small pieces
1, 16-ounce bag of frozen chopped organic spinach
Fortified Lemon Juice (see note below)
In a large stockpot, place the lentils, water, and Better Than Bouillon Chicken (or No Chicken) Base. Partially cover and cook over medium heat until the lentils are barely tender – about 25 minutes. (Do not over cook the lentils or they will split and the soup will be grainy!)
Next, sauté the onions in 2 batches: Heat 1 ½ tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat in a large 10-inch non-stick skillet. When the oil is hot, add half of the diced onions and one pinch of the crushed red pepper; saute, stirring occasionally, until the onions just start to brown on the edges. Remove the onions from the pan and set them aside.
Cook the remaining onions with a pinch of crushed red pepper in the same skillet. When the second batch of onions starts to get lightly brown on the edges, add these onions — and also the reserved onions — to the pot with the lentils. Stir to mix.
Continue to cook the soup over medium heat until the lentils are cooked through. Then add the chopped fresh kale and simmer the mixture for about 3 minutes. It will soften and turn a lovely deep green color. Then add the frozen spinach and simmer for a minute or two.
Individually season the soup at the table!
Pass the Fortified Fresh Lemon Juice (see note below) and Cilantro Chutney and let each person add as much as they like to get the taste they like!
Note: To make Fortified Lemon Juice
Using a peeler, remove the rind (but not the white pith) of an organic lemon. Tear the rind into smaller (about 1-inch pieces) and add the pieces to a blender. Pour fresh squeezed lemon juice into the blender and blend. It doesn’t take many lemon peels to add lots of zesty flavor! So add the lemon peel to the blender and taste the mixture until you get the result you like.
Enjoy and be healthy!