Slow Cooker Lentil Soup

Do you like using a slow cooker? The old-school appliance can transform pantry ingredients into a delicious meal with just a couple steps. So continue our month of soup, we’re happy to share this easy favorite from Hugh Acheson’s The Chef and the Slow Cooker. Here’s how to make it…

Lentil Soup With Kale and Sour Cream
By Hugh Acheson, author of The Chef and the Slow Cooker

I love lentils. They cook quickly, are incredibly nutritious and inexpensive, and have a culinary dexterity about them. Traditionally, lentil soup is about a 4:1 ratio of liquid to lentils, but you can make it as brothy as you wish. Matched with a piece of toasted baguette, this hearty classic soup makes a fine meal.

Lentil Soup With Kale and Sour Cream
Serves 6 to 8

You’ll need:

2 quarts vegetable stock
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 shallots, minced
1 large carrot, finely diced
2 celery stalks, finely diced
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 tbsp sweet smoked paprika
1 tbsp coriander seeds, toasted and ground
1 lb green lentils
Kosher salt
2 tsp unsalted butter or olive oil
4 cups stemmed curly leaf kale, chopped into about 1/2-inch pieces
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
Sour cream (optional), for serving
Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves (optional), for serving

Turn your 4-quart slow cooker to the high setting, add the vegetable stock and heat it, covered, until warm. (This may take 15 minutes.)

Place a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil. When it begins to shimmer, add the
shallots and cook for 2 minutes, or until translucent. Add the carrot and celery and cook for 2 more minutes — until they are starting to soften. Add the thyme sprigs, smoked paprika and ground coriander. Stir well and transfer the mixture to the slow cooker.

Rinse the lentils in a fine mesh sieve under cold running water. Add them to the slow cooker. Add 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste, cover with the lid and cook on the high setting for 3 hours, or until the lentils are tender and the flavors have melded.

Remove the thyme sprigs. Use a ladle to transfer 1 cup of the soup to a blender; puree it, and then return the puree to the slow cooker. (Alternatively, take an immersion blender and buzz the soup a bit to make it a little smoother.)

Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the butter. When the butter bubbles and froths, add the kale and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes, until it has wilted. Season with a pinch of salt and add the kale to the soup. Add the lemon zest and sherry vinegar, and season to taste with salt. When serving, garnish each bowl with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of parsley.

Thanks so much, Hugh! Your slow cooker cookbook is terrific.

P.S. More dinner recipes, including a one-pot dinner and five-ingredient lemony chicken.

(Reprinted from The Chef and the Slow Cooker. Copyright © 2017 by Fried Pie, LLC. Photographs copyright © 2017 by Andrew Thomas Lee. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC. This series is edited by Stella Blackmon.)