Golden French Lentil Stew

I cut this recipe in half to make it just for me and my son. I wasn’t sure how it would go over but he loved it. Next time I will make the full batch and maybe more to freeze. The kale in this recipe came from my freezer. We get fresh, organic kale from a local CSA and just never use it all. So, I chopped it up and put it in freezer bags to be used later. I am so happy I did this! I have been pulling it out to add to recipes instead of having to buy a whole kale (they never come in small sizes) at the grocery store. A big hunk of crusty bread is perfect on the side.

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With thanks to Angela Liddon and her cookbook Oh She Glows Every Day

Makes 8 cups (2L)    Serves 4

vegan, gluten-free, nut-free option, soy-free, grain-free, advance prep required, freezer-friendly, kid-friendly option

Soak Time: 1-2 hours or overnight          Prep Time: 20-25 min            Cook Time: 36-43 min

Ingredients:
1/2 cup (125ml) raw cashews, or 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp (90ml) raw sunflower seeds
2 cups (500ml) water
2 Tbsp (30ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 large yellow or sweet onion, diced, or 2 leeks, cleaned and thinly sliced (about 2 cups/500ml)
4 large cloves garlic, minced (2 Tbsp/30ml minced)
1 to 1 1/2 tsp (5 to 7ml) fine sea salt, to taste, plus a couple pinches
2 medium carrots, diced (1 heaping cup/275ml)
2 stalks celery, diced (3/4 cup/175ml)
2 tsp (10ml) ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp (7 ml) dried thyme
1 tsp (5ml) ground turmeric
1 (14oz/398ml) can of diced tomatoes, with juices (you can always use fresh, just mash them up a bit to get the juice out of them)
3/4 cup (175ml) uncooked French green lentils, picked over and rinsed
4 cups (1L) low-sodium vegetable broth
3 cup (750ml) stemmed and chopped Swiss chard or kale leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 tsp (5 to 10ml) white wine vinegar, to taste
  1. Put the cashews in a bowl and cover with a couple of inches of water. Soak for 1 to 2 hours or overnight. (For a quick-soak method, cover with boiling water and soak for 30-60 minutes.) Drain and rinse. Transfer the cashews to a high-speed blender along with 1/2 cup (125ml) of the water. Blend on high until super smooth and creamy in texture. Set the cashew cream aside.
  2. In a large dutch oven or stock pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Stir in the onion, garlic, and a couple pinches of salt, and sauté until the onion is softened, 4 to 6 minutes.
  3. Stir in the carrots and celery, and cook for another few minutes or so. Stir in the cumin, thyme, and turmeric until combined.
  4. Add the diced tomatoes with their juices, lentils, broth, and remaining water. In crease the heat and bring to a low boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, for 30 to 35 minutes, until the lentils are tender.
  5. Stir in the cashew cream and chard. Add salt, pepper, and vinegar to taste. (The vinegar’s role is to lend brightness to the soup, add a little bit at a time and keep tasting, as it can quickly overwhelm.) Cook for a couple of minutes over low-medium heat, until the chard is wilted, and then serve. This stew will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days, or you can freeze it for 1 to 2 months (always let it cool completely before storing). The stew will thicken after sitting in the fridge; you can thin it out with a bit of broth when you reheat it, if desired, or simply serve it thick with some crusty bread.

Angela’s Tips:

When the cashew (or sunflower seed) cream is mixed into the soup, the broth can take on a speckled appearance due to it reacting with the vinegar. This is totally normal and does not effect the delicious flavour of the soup.

Make it nut-free: Use sunflower seed cream rather than cashew cream.

Make it kid-friendly: This soup has a lot of nutrient-packed ingredients,which can mean a lot of chewing for little ones. You can pureé their servings in a blender and serve with Angela’s Easiest Garlic Croutons (p. 257, Oh She Glows Every Day) cut into strips for dipping.

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