I love many mustard greens and other cruciferous vegetables, but have had a tricky time with kale. No matter how much we sautéed it, with lots of oil and garlic, it remained a bit too tough and a bit too bitter for me. The trick, I found, is to slowly cook it in a soup, where it becomes tender, but not mushy, and tastes more mellow.
Another aspect of this soup I enjoy is that the lentils have a slightly al dente texture that goes nicely with the kale. This is why I use the French green lentils, such as the lentilles du Puy, because these particular varieties tend to maintain their shape after a long cooking period. You could still use whole brown lentils, but you’d have to watch the pot carefully so that they don’t (mostly) dissolve.
- 1 cup French green lentils, e.g., du Puy
- 2 medium onions (1 pound)
- 4 medium carrots (1/2 pound)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander seed
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice & cloves
- 1/4 preserved lemon, rinsed, seeds removed, and minced
- 1 1/2 cups canned or fresh tomatoes
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 4 cups water
- 3/4 pound kale, thick and tough stems removed, and chopped
- 1 to 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
- (optional) crumbled queso fresco
- Pick through and rinse the lentils. Drain them and set aside.
- Sauté the onions and carrots in a large pot with the olive oil over medium high heat.
- When the onions have become translucent, about 10 minutes, stir in the cinnamon, coriander, cumin, ginger, allspice, cloves and preserved lemon.
- When the spices have become fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes, stir in the tomatoes, stock, water, kale and lentils.
- Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until the lentils have become tender. Depending on how old (dry) the lentils are, this could be range from 20 minutes to an hour.
- Season with the pomegranate molasses, and serve with a crumbly cheese like queso fresco, if you wish.