It seems almost like a requirement for every food blog to have some variation of lentil soup presented to the Internet. Some are curried, some are meaty, and some are a little bit detox-y. But in my experience, nothing stands up to this simple, but flavorful, veggie-heavy, and stew-like version.
The recipe came to life during a particularly brutal New England winter, in a drafty apartment in Jamaica Plain I was sharing with my sister. This lentil soup is particularly good at satisfying you the same way a pile of pasta does – while making you feel less guilty about prior gastronomic indiscretions. I’ve borrowed my sister’s method of frying up the tomato paste with aromatic onions and garlic and included some tweaks to bump up the flavors.
Two Sisters Lentil SOup
Total time: 1 hour
Serves: 8 hungry souls or 2 with leftovers for several days
2-3 tbsp. olive oil
* Any other dry cooking wine you have hanging around in the back of your fridge will work. You can also cut this and have a totally delicious soup.
* I prefer half red lentils and half green lentils for variety in texture.
* I used 2 tsp. chicken bouillon and 6 cups of water, but you can also do this recipe with water only and compensate with extra spices and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Mince garlic and dice onion. Measure out all spices into a small bowl. Rinse lentils in a mesh strainer thoroughly and check over for any little rocks.
Warm olive oil in a Dutch oven or large heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until golden and translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and sauté garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add all the spices and stir to combine with the onions and garlic. Toss in the tomato paste and fry for 1-2 minutes (add more oil as needed). Right when everything is starting to brown and seems like it's seconds from disaster, pour in the Marsala wine to deglaze the pan. Now, add the lentils, broth, and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and then reduce to low.
While the broth is coming to a simmer, chop the carrots and potatoes. Once the broth is simmering, add in the carrots, potatoes, and canned diced tomatoes. Cook until vegetables and lentils are tender, about 25-30 minutes.
Meanwhile, prep the chard by chopping off the grungy ends, cutting the leaves in half along the stem, and slicing thinly into ribbons. When the veggies are cooked through, toss in the chard and cook until wilted, about 5-7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve in a cozy bowl with ample Parmesan and bread for dipping.