Monday, February 20, 2012

Lucine Kasbarian's Swiss Chard Lentil Soup

My friend, Lucine Kasbarian (author, writer, and illustrator), sent me her recipe for Swiss chard lentil soup. She asked me to read through it to see if it could be tweaked. She and her family liked the recipe well-enough, but felt it could use some sprucing-up. I glanced through the ingredients which looked fine. After reading her directions, I decided I’d make the soup, adjust some of the ingredients and re-work a few of the steps.  

Lucine’s original recipe is listed first; my recipe variations follow along with the results.

Lucine’s SWISS CHARD LENTIL SOUP
Prep time: 20 mins.    Cooking time: 1 hour

Ingredients:
1/3 cup brown lentils, picked over and rinsed
6-8 cups chicken broth (can mix with beef broth)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large white onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
4 medium carrots, diced
2 cans chickpeas, drained and washed
1 pound Swiss chard, washed, stemmed and chopped
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon salt to taste
Dash of red wine vinegar

Directions:
1) Place lentils in a large saucepan (12" diameter x 6" high). Add broth, bring to boil, and cook over medium heat for 15 mins.
2) Heat oil in skillet, saute onion and garlic until onion is transparent. Add lentils with carrots and chickpeas. Stir to combine, cover and cook over medium-low heat 15 mins or until tender. Add Swiss chard, coriander, allspice, salt and red wine vinegar. (You may want to add the chard gradually so that it wilts first and gives you room to add more.) Cook 5-7 mins. Adjust seasoning by tasting and serve hot with lemon juice or wedges squeezed over soup.
Serves 4-6
Swiss chard lentil soup made in The Armenian Kitchen

Here are my ingredient adjustments for Lucine’s Swiss chard lentil soup:

I used…
  • ½ cup lentils instead of 1/3 cup
  • Olive oil instead of veg. oil
  • 1 can chickpeas instead of 2
  • ½ tsp. salt instead of 1 tsp.
  • ¼ + cup lemon juice instead of dash of red wine vinegar
  • a blend of 3 cups lamb broth (which I had in the freezer) plus 1 (32-oz) box low- sodium chicken broth
My cooking variations are as follows:
Sauteeing the veggies and spices
1. I sautéed the onions, garlic and carrots in the oil until they began to soften, then added the spices to the skillet and let them cook with the vegetables for a few minutes. This intensified the flavors of the coriander and allspice. (The house smelled great!)

Adding the lentils to the broth
2. Using an 8-qt. pot, I brought the 2 broths to a boil, then added the lentils and let it cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes (as Lucine did). Then I added the onion mixture, chick peas, lemon juice and the chard – one handful at a time, adding more as the chard wilted. I let it cook for about 20-30 minutes on medium - low heat with the pot partially covered. Added water as broth evaporated.
Adding the chard a little at a time
Final Outcome: The broth had a delicious, deep, rich, earthy flavor with a hint of brightness from the lemon.  

This soup is certainly a healthy, hearty, one-pot meal. Thanks, Lucine!


1 comment:

  1. Made both versions this week to start Lent off right and both were excellent, each in their own way. Thanks from Naz.

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