Lentil Soup with Kale

I know I’ve already got a Lentil Soup with Kale on here, but this one’s a bit different. More of a Middle Eastern take. It’s excellent as a fall soup, particularly when the leaves start falling and there’s a definite chill to the air. Serve over brown rice, or some homemade pita. Or not, since there are potatoes here. (Incidentally, since I last wrote about lentil soup, there’s been a welcome change. Paco, mentioned in that previous post, is now 14 — and LOVES bean and pulse soups. Can we say *progress*? )

2 cups Lentilles de Puy, or other lentil
1 large onion, chopped
10 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock, water or a combination
salt to taste
2 Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed
1 bunch kale, trimmed and chopped
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1/2 lemon, sliced thin (thin-skinned are best but I only had the thick-skinned ones)
chopped green olives for topping

Pick through lentils carefully. Rinse and drain. Bring to a boil in a casserole with onions and stock. Cook over medium heat 30 minutes, discarding any scum that may rise to surface. Add salt and potatoes and cook 15 minutes, covered, stirring occasionally. Stir in kale and additional salt (if needed) plus black pepper to taste. Cook 15 minutes more or until everything is cooked through.

While lentils are cooking, heat olive oil in a skillet. Add garlic and spices and keep over low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in garlic mixture to soup and simmer 10 minutes. Add lemon juice and stir again. Serve hot, garnished with the lemon slices and chopped green olives (which I reserve for myself as the kids are not big olive fans unless in some unrecognizable puree). They content themselves with a sprinkling of some sea salt if necessary. Another salty topping you can use to contrast with the tang of the lemon is — what else — crumbled feta. I used a saltier-than-usual sheep’s milk feta from Israel.

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