I love kale, I love lentils, and it’s getting colder outside. Combine all those facts and you have a recipe for the most delicious stew. I wanted to do a post on something cozy and warm with a taste that would force your eyes closed as you savored every bit of flavor. This recipe is it! Seriously, when my friend Rachel Lomas described this stew she makes in the fall and winter, I couldn’t wait to try it. It’s a hearty, relatively healthy meal. Once the final tallies are in on this one, trust me; you’ll be planning your next batch. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
On a side note, this time next week, I’ll be feeling bloated and completely disgusted with myself from my Thanksgiving gluttony, but at the same time, I’ll be thankful for my loving family, dear friends and you. I’m very thankful for this blog but it wouldn’t be nearly as fulfilling if it weren’t for you. Have a wonderful Holiday and thanks for reading!
Kale and Lentil stew
4 slices of thick applewood smoked slab bacon
1 medium onion chopped
2 leeks, white and light green parts only, cut into small ribbons, washed and dried thoroughly
1 head of garlic peeled and chopped
2 small carrots, peeled
3 carrots diced
2 thyme sprigs
1 1/2 cups of French green lentils
1 cup of red lentils
1 cup of very dry white wine
7 cups of homemade chicken stock
1 cup of water if needed
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Soffritto (soup base):
1 1/2 large onions
12 plum tomatoes peeled, de-seeded and finely chopped ( to peel the tomatoes place in boiling water for a minute or two and then peel the skin)
3 cloves of garlic
1 cup of olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
4 cups of orange, yellow and red tomatoes, any small variety
(grape, pear or cherry), cut in half
1 bunch of Lacinato Kale
4 cloves of garlic smashed in a mortar and pestle with kosher salt into a paste
2 teaspoons of red pepper flakes
3 teaspoons of fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup of olive oil
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
Freshly grated Parmesan Regiano
For the Soffritto
Combine the onions, 1/2 cup of olive oil and salt in a 8-to 9-inch-wide saucepan and place over medium heat. As soon as the oil starts to simmer, reduce the heat to low. Adjust the heat and oil as necessary so that the oil bubbles gently. Cook the onions for 1 1/2 -2 hours until the onions are caramelized. At the same time cook the tomatoes with the garlic, salt and 1/2 cup of olive oil for 1 1/2 hours. Then add the tomatoes and garlic to the onions and cook for another hour. It is important to keep an eye an on both the onions and tomatoes and stir occasionally.
For the Soup
Cook the bacon over medium-high heat in large dutch oven, and let it render its fat for about 3-5 minutes. For the next several steps of the recipe, make sure you season each ingredient with salt and pepper as you add then to the soup; but don’t over season either. Add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes, then add the leeks and cook for 3 minutes, add the garlic, cook for 2 minutes. Add the soffritto, stir, then add the 2 whole carrots, thyme, cayenne, lentils and the white wine and stir to mix well. Let the wine reduce for 5 minutes then add the chicken broth. Add the diced carrots during the last 20 minutes of cooking. They should still have some texture left, but cook them longer if you like a softer carrot. Use the remaining cup of water to adjust the amount of liquid you want in your stew after it has cooked for 45- 60 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. Remove the two whole carrots, the bacon and the thyme sprig before serving.
For the Kale and Tomatoes
Blanch the Kale,one minute in boiling water, then immediately put the kale in an ice bath, dry thoroughly and set aside.
Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil over high heat in a large cast iron skillet. Add half of the garlic paste and stir for a few seconds, adjust the heat to medium- high and be very careful the garlic does not burn. Add one teaspoon of the chili flakes, then the tomatoes one cup at a time, salt, pepper. Cook each cup for 2-3 minutes. Add more olive oil if necessary and 1 1/2 teaspoons of lemon juice. After cooking the tomatoes, heat the olive oil and place the remaining garlic paste in the same skillet that the tomatoes were cooked in ( don’t wash the skillet), stir for a few seconds and then add the last teaspoon of chili flakes, then kale, and cook just long enough to heat the kale through, 3- 4 minutes then add the remaining lemon juice. Place the tomatoes and kale on top of the lentils and freshly grated Parmesan cheese