Lentils are celebrated in Italy and in many other cultures for New Year’s, and I Just love to continue the tradition throughout the month of January.
Here is the recipe for one of my favorite lentil dishes, that I’ll be sharing with my family this week, Swiss chard and Lentil Soup.
Swiss Chard and Lentil Soup
- 4 ounces pancetta, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 2 tablespoons -extra–virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped (about 1½ cups)
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped (about ½ cup)
- 1 celery stalk, chopped (about ½ cup)
- One -28–ounce can whole san marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 bunches swiss chard, cleaned, tough stems discarded, leaves and tender stems chopped (about 1½ pounds)
- 1 pound dried lentils, rinsed
In a mini–food processor, pulse the pancetta and garlic to make a smooth pestata.
In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
Add the pestata, and cook until the fat has rendered, about 4 minutes.
Add the onion, carrot, and celery, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
Add the crushed tomatoes, and simmer for 5 minutes to concentrate the flavors.
Add 6 quarts of water, the bay leaves, and salt. Simmer to develop the flavors, about 45 minutes.
Add the Swiss chard, and cook for 30 minutes.
Add the lentils, and continue simmering until they are tender and the soup has thickened and is flavorful, another 40 minutes or so.