Let's call this meal what it was: A Dinner Fit For Dames.
And while we're at it, let's just call this recipe what it is: the best darn lentil soup I've ever tasted ever. I'm being entirely earnest. I know I made it and that this fact makes me completely biased. But know this: I am always right. Especially when Blue and I join forces to host a Downton Abbey finale party for 6 lovely
ladies dames with an affinity for British accents (and men), excellent food, and of course, Dame Maggie Smith, who, incidentally, stole the entire show. I dare you to watch the following video and not laugh.
It can't be done. You know you watched it five more times.
I totally already bought the DVDs.
Anyways, onto the main event. A few quick thoughts and tips: I was delighted by the pretty factor of the rainbow chard at the grocery store, so I used it. It was a feast for the mouth AND the eyes! This recipe makes more than the 6.5 servings it claims. We had enough for 7 to have seconds and for two leftover meals! Finally, I was cooking for vegetarians, and consequently left out the pancetta. I bet it's really good with it, but it was also really really good without it. Instead of browning the onions in the fat, I added a little olive oil.
I served this soup w/Pumpkin Cornbread (except I made it with squash it was what I had) and regular cornbread. This was a decidedly more exciting combination than when I ate the leftovers with a regular dinner roll, but it's really up to you! For desert I made Blackberry-Lemon Pudding Cake. It was good warm, but even better cold, and even more better with some extra blueberries (I like them frozen) mixed in. Photos below!
1 2/3 cups cubed peeled sweet potato, (about 8 ounces)
1 2/3 cups cubed peeled parsnip (about 8 ounces)
1 2/3 cups cubed peeled carrot (about 8 ounces)
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (4 ounces) chopped pancetta
1 cup chopped shallots (about 6 large)
1 cup chopped red onion (about 1 medium)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 1/4 cups dried lentils
6 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth, divided
8 cups Swiss chard, trimmed and chopped (about 9 ounces)
1) Combine sweet potato, parsnip, carrot, 2 tablespoons vinegar, oil, and salt in a large bowl; toss well.
2) Arrange vegetable mixture in a single layer on a large foil-lined jelly-roll pan; bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Set aside.
3) Cook pancetta in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat 8 minutes or until crisp. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon; set aside.
4) Add shallots and onion to drippings in pan; cook 15 minutes or until golden brown.
5) Add remaining 1 tablespoon vinegar, thyme, garlic, and pepper; cook 1 minute. Add wine, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.
6) Add pancetta, lentils, and 4 cups broth to pan. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes.
7) Add remaining 2 cups broth and roasted vegetables to pan, and simmer 15 minutes, uncovered.
8) Add chard, and cook 2 minutes or until wilted.
9) I'll try not to look smug now that you've just admitted that it is the best darn lentil soup ever.
Chase this with a picture of some Blackberry-Lemon Pudding Cake:
You're welcome for that cleansed palate (and also plate).