Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Swiss chard, barley, and lentil soup

I ate more junk food last week than I normally do in a year.

I love my family, and I love seeing them at Christmas, but my uncles are junk food fiends. I was in a house filled to the rafters with chips, store-bought pastries and pound cakes, enormous bags of M&Ms, and every kind of soda imaginable. It all got eaten, too.

So I was very happy that my mother sent me home with some goodies from her garden--several bags of fresh-cut herbs which are now drying, but most importantly, two great big bags of chard. Instead of having to run right out and buy groceries as soon as I got home, I've now got a several-day supply of greenery that I can supplement with pantry stuff.

My body is crying out for green stuff.

Last night I made a chard, barley and lentil soup, but I made it more like a slurry and less like a soup--I didn't put much liquid in there at all. You can put in more, if you like.

Here's the original recipe, reprinted below. I didn't put in carrots or dill (didn't have any) and I used shallots instead of onions (didn't have any).

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped peeled carrots
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 10 cups (or more) low-salt chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2/3 cup pearl barley
  • 1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 2/3 cup dried lentils
  • 4 cups (packed) coarsely chopped Swiss chard (about 1/2 large bunch)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

Heat oil in heavy large nonreactive pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and carrots; sauté until onions are golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and stir 1 minute. Mix in cumin; stir 30 seconds. Add 10 cups broth and barley; bring to boil. Reduce heat; partially cover and simmer 25 minutes. Stir in tomatoes with juice and lentils; cover and simmer until barley and lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.

Add chard to soup; cover and simmer until chard is tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in dill. Season soup with salt and pepper. Thin with more broth, if desired.

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