Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Escarole Lentil Soup

     A Healthy, Hearty, Delicious Vegetarian Soup! 
     Escarole is a type of leafy endive lettuce that is used to make many European soup recipes.  Braised Escarole is also a classic vegetable offering.  Escarole has a natural savory butter flavor when it is cooked.
     Lentils have a rich deep flavor that is unlike any other bean.  Dried Lentils also do not require much cooking time to become tender.  The combination of escarole and lentils creates a nice tasting nutritious soup that is perfect for a chilly day!  
     Escarole Lentil Soup:
     This recipe yields 2 large bowls of soup.  (About 4 cups.)
     Step 1:  Heat a sauce pot over medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
     Add 3 tablespoons each of:
     - small diced carrot
     - small diced celery
     - small diced onion
     Add 1 minced garlic clove.
     Gently sauté till the vegetables are tender.
     Step 2:  Add 1 1/2 cups of chopped escarole leaves.
     Gently sauté till the escarole wilts.
     Step 3:  Add 3 3/4 cups of vegetable broth.  (Chicken broth or pork broth are optional for a non-vegetarian version.)
     Add 1 1/4 cups of dried lentil beans.
     Add 1 teaspoon of white wine vinegar.
     Add 1 bay leaf.
     Add 1 pinch of oregano.
     Add 2 pinches of sea salt and black pepper.
     Step 4:  Raise the temperature to medium high heat.
     Bring the soup to a gentle boil.
     Step 5:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Simmer the soup till the lentils are cooked soft.  (Only add broth if the level of liquid drops below the lentils.  The consistency of the soup will be adjusted later in the recipe!)
     Step 6:  Remove the pot from the heat.
     Remove the bay leaf.
     Mash about half of the lentils in the soup.
     Step 7:  Return the pot to low heat.
     *Check the consistency after the soup heats.  The mashed lentils will thicken the soup.  Add about 1/2 cup to 1 cup of broth if the consistency of the soup is too dense.
     Adjust the seasoning with sea salt and black pepper if necessary.
     Keep the soup warm over very low heat.
     Step 8:  Ladle the soup into a large soup bowl.
     Serve with sliced French bread on the side.
     No garnish is necessary!
     This nutritious soup has a nice warming effect!  

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