French Green Lentil Soup
With all of the post-holiday cleaning and madness, I always get hungry for soup, and I really love lentil soup. It is easy, vegetarian, wholesome and I always feel great after I eat it. It's not raw, but on cold winter days, I really gravitate to soup. It's great with a slice of Whole Wheat Flax Bread, or sometimes I serve it over rice like stew. The kids seem to like it this way. Plus with the hustle and bustle of Christmas being over, this is a great relaxing and revitalizing meal. I love taking a minute to dig into the earthy and bright flavors of this soup.
FRENCH GREEN LENTIL SOUP
2 tbsp olive oil
1 whole yellow onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup good white wine (I am liking Bonterre Organic Chardonnay for cooking these days, it's sweet and pretty well rounded in flavor)
6 cups homemade or organic chicken stock
3 carrots, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
1 1/2 cups French green lentils
1 small yukon gold potato, peeled and finely grated (this will break down and thicken the soup)
1 tsp dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
4 cups kale, thinly sliced
Juice from 1 lemon
thin lemon slices and thyme sprigs to garnish
In a large stock pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic, stirring occasionally, until the onion starts to brown on the edges. Add the tomato paste and stir to coat the onions. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are coated and barely browned with tomato paste. The pot will have bits of brown stuck to the bottom from the tomato paste cooking, about 3 minutes.
Add the white wine to deglaze the bottom of the pan, making sure to scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook until the wine has reduced to about half (about 4-5 minutes). Add the chicken stock, carrots, celery, lentils, potato, and thyme. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 45 minutes, until the lentils are just tender. Add the salt and pepper to taste, stir and remove from heat.
Add the thinly sliced kale and recover the soup. Allow kale to wilt for a few minutes. Remove lid, add the lemon juice and stir. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve with thinly sliced lemon and sprigs of fresh thyme.