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Lentil Soup with Escarole

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Lentil and Escarole Soup

Lentil and Escarole Soup

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This is one of my all-time favorite soups. It’s so easy to make, very satisfying, and not to mention good for you. You can substitute other greens for the escarole, such as Swiss chard, spinach, or mustard greens. And if you want even a heartier soup, you can add some chopped ham or shredded cooked pork to the soup at then end.

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled ad chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 can (14 ounces) plum tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 8 ounces brown lentils, picked over and rinsed (1 1/4 cups)
  • 6 cups water
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 medium thead escarole (about 1 pound)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preparation:

1. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrot, and garlic and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes.

2. Add the lentils and water to the pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the lentils are tender, about 45 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. Meanwhile, separate the escarole leaves and rinse well. Stack the leaves and cut them crosswise into 1/- inch-wide strips. When the lentils are tender, stir in the escarole. Return the soup to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the escarole is tender, about 10 minutes.

4. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle each serving with Parmesan cheese.

Recipe Notes

• These tiny lens-shaped lentils are perfect for family meals because, unlike beans, they need no pre-soaking and they cook more quickly.
• Lentils are among the most nutritious of foods. One cup of cooked lentils has 18 grams of protein and provides significant amounts of iron, potassium, and dietary fiber.
• Their earthy flavor adds a wholesome quality to soups, stews, salads, dips, casseroles, and side dishes. But this ancient food can be admired for more than its ease of cooking and versatility.
• To use dried lentils, simply pour them into a bowl and rinse with cold water. Pick out any dark or discolored ones, then drain in a colander. Simmer them using a ratio of 1 part lentils to 3 parts water or stock until they’re the right texture for your recipe. To use in lentils in salads, cook green, brown and French lentils for 15 to 20 minutes, red lentils for 5 to 10 minutes. For soups and purées, increase the time by 5 to 10 minutes.
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