Show ‘n Tell
The last in the Super Secret Getaway series of recipes, I kept waiting for some cold weather to make this soup more “appropriate” and thus have greater appeal, but Mother Nature just isn’t cooperating with my plans (how dare she?!?). I’ll roll with it anyway. Don’t get me wrong, this soup needs no helping hand to make its flavors appealing. In fact, it’s exceptionally hearty, flavorful and filling – a perfect ward-off-the-chill soup. It’s just that I doubt any of you are going to be interested in making it this week with another 85 degree day forecasted for Philly on Monday.
You’re all quite familiar with swiss chard by now, I’m sure. No need to wax lyrical about it again. Suffice to say, it never disappoints me. However, you could easily use collards, kale, mustard or even beet greens for this soup. Satiate the beast within after a romp outdoors with chewy barely, smoky cumin, sweet potatoes and bright chard – the soup’s flavor is really rather complex, in a good way. This is one of those soups that ages really well…leftovers are even better than the first taste. I didn’t freeze any of this batch, but I’m sure it would do well if you wish to stock up for the darker month ahead.
I keep hearing about how much you guys like my photos (you make me blush, but thank you) and since I have several for this recipe, I think I’ll cease with the “tell” portion of this post and commence with the “show”. I promise a return to the witty banter on Monday.
Swiss Chard Barely Lentil Stew
Adapted from Epicurious.com/Bon Appetit
1 T. olive oil
1.5 c. minced onion
1.5 c. chopped unpeeled sweet potato
4 garlic cloves, minced
2.5 t. ground cumin
1 t. ground/rubbed sage (about 4 dried leaves)
10 c. vegetable broth
2/3 c. pearl barley
14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes
1 small fresh tomato, diced
2/3 c. dried lentils
1 rind of parmesan cheese (optional)
4 c. (packed) coarsely chopped Swiss Chard (about 15 large stems)*
2 T. chopped fresh dill
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
*To prep chard, cut out the thick stem from the leaves before chopping.
Heat oil in large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add onions and sweet potatoes and sauté until onions are golden brown (about 10 minutes). Add garlic and sauté for another minute before adding cumin and sage. Stir well and add to a large soup pot with the vegetable broth. Add barely and bring the pot up to a rolling boil before reducing heat to medium-low. Simmer for 25 minutes, partially covered.
Stir in tomatoes with juice and lentils. If you have a leftover rind of parmesan in your freeze like I do, stir it in now for added flavor. Cover and simmer until both barley and lentils are tender, about another 25 minutes. Add swiss chard to soup and simmer for 5 minutes until chard is tender. Stir in the dill and season liberally with salt and pepper to taste before serving.
(serves 10 as a starter or 6 as a main)