Hearty Lentil Soup

Just about any dark, leafy green works well in this soup—traditionally it’s made with Swiss chard—but I’ve found that collards provide just the right element of savory dimension to make it extra tasty. While the onions slowly cook and the beans are simmering, my girls often prep the greens, squeeze the lemons, and cut the potatoes for the finishing steps. Be sure not to overcook it. The lentils should maintain their shape, though the soup will thicken slightly as it begins to cool. Don’t be surprised if the next day’s bowl is even tastier than the first! 

¾ cup lentils
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, diced
¼ teaspoon pepper
¾ teaspoons coriander
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1½ teaspoons flour
1 large bunch collards, stemmed and thinly sliced crosswise
1 large bunch cilantro, chopped
¾ pounds baby red potatoes, quartered
Juice of 1 lemon

Place the lentils, 1 teaspoon salt, and 6 cups water in a large pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer and cook 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add onions, remaining salt, pepper, and coriander. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are well-browned and caramelized, about 20 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute, then add the flour, collards, and cilantro, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the greens have wilted, about 2 minutes.

Stir the onion mixture into the pot with the lentils. Spoon a bit of broth from the soup into the emptied pan and use it to deglaze the pan, scraping up any brown bits. Add the mixture to the soup. 

Stir in potatoes and lemon juice and return the soup to a simmer. Continue to cook until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.

Adapted from Classic Lebanese Cuisine by Kamal Al-Faqi

Read the story behind the soup, Satisfaction by the Bowl.