emails, projects, deadlines, bills, hopes, ambitions, and wishes: these are some of many different holes in which to lose ourselves–lofty nooks and worrisome crannies wherein we mark wonderless time. we become other things when we enter into these spaces: professionals, employees, homeowners, parents, students, dreamers. stories in our minds unfold from aspirational constraints and channeled ideals. their narratives take root and govern our sense of being, overshadowing the very event of it. today i bring to you a recipe with intent that you need not become any other thing while you stir and sup, but that you might just taste.
this is lentil soup just the way i like it: hot, hearty, and humble. i photographed this particular bowl after i let it reheat at a strong simmer for a little too long; its consistency was a little thicker than that of the soup freshly cooked. the leftover soup i reheated the following day (that i managed not to forget) had a consistency more similar to what you can see in the second photo above: it was a distinctly soupier, the kale kept its vibrant color, and the clean edges of the potatoes were largely intact. but all that said, the flavors in this soup are perfect either brothy and toothsome or stewy and soft, so feel free to tweak the amount of water and the simmering time to your liking.
- 2 cups dry green/brown lentils
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 medium onions, diced
- 4 carrots, diced
- 4 ribs of celery, diced
- 4 potatoes, cut into ½-inch cubes
- 2 turkish bay leaves*
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- filtered water or vegetable stock (8 cups or more as needed)
- 1 bunch kale, chopped or torn into spoon-friendly pieces
- 2½ teaspoons salt, or to taste
- freshly ground black pepper
- apple cider vinegar/lemon juice/balsamic vinegar
- soak the lentils overnight or for at least 6 hours in fresh, filtered water. drain and rinse after soaking and set aside.
- in a large stockpot, warm the olive oil over medium heat. add onions, carrots, and celery. cook until vegetables begin to soften, about 8 minutes, stirring occassionally.
- add the potatoes, then the bay leaves along with oregano and thyme. pour in the drained lentils and as much water or stock as you want. bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the lentils and potatoes are tender.
- stir in the kale leaves. continue simmering for a few minutes if you'd like, or turn the burner off and let the kale wilt in the heat of the soup.
- season with salt and pepper. add a big splash of vinegar or lemon juice. taste and adjust. let the soup cool for a few minutes, then ladle into bowls and enjoy.
about vinegar/acid: the crucial acidic component in this lentil soup comes from the vinegar added at the end of cooking. don't skip it! but do mind a few options before you decide on the one(s) you want--i love apple cider vinegar for its crisp freshness; lemon juice for its floral fullness, and white wine vinegar for its sharp, clean edge. i used a combination of apple cider vinegar + lemon juice this time. i like to add a touch more acid when i reheat leftovers, and i think the aromatic darkness of balsamic vinegar is especially welcome then. smell. taste. try.