Lentil and Beet Soup
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- 1 cup du Puy (French) green lentils (I use Bob’s Heritage French Green Lentils, which are available at Whole Foods)
- 2 teaspoons (2/3 palmful) cumin seeds
- 2 teaspoons (2/3 palmful) caraway seeds
- About 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 ribs celery with leafy tops, chopped
- 2 medium leeks, whites and light greens, cleaned and chopped
- 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, stems and leaves separated and finely chopped
- 3 large cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- Salt and pepper
- 1 quart vegetable stock
- 3 to 4 medium red beets (with leafy tops, if possible), scrubbed, greens stemmed and thinly sliced
- 1/2 pound (a small bunch) Tuscan/Lacinato kale, stemmed and thinly shredded
- A handful fresh dill, chopped
- Radishes, cut into matchsticks or thinly sliced, to serve
Soak the lentils for a minimum of 1 hour or up to overnight.
In a small skillet, toast the cumin and caraway seeds over medium heat until fragrant; grind together in a spice mill.
Heat Dutch oven or soup pot over medium to medium-high heat with the olive oil, 3 turns of the pot. Add celery, leeks, parsley stems, garlic and bay leaves, and season with salt, pepper and ground spices. Stir to combine then let the vegetables sweat 3-5 minutes.
Rinse and drain the lentils, and add them to the pot along with the stock plus about 2 cups of water. Bring the soup to a boil then reduce heat and keep soup at a low, rolling boil for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, shred the beets into matchsticks or grate them on a box grater or mandolin.
Add beets to soup along with the beet greens and kale, simmer 15-20 minutes longer. Stir in dill and parsley then adjust salt and pepper to taste.
Serve this thick, rich soup in shallow bowls topped with radishes.