I have lived in North Carolina my entire life and I cannot remember a time when we have had snow on the ground for this long. Though it isn’t much, it’s still there. This past Saturday morning the market was covered in a fresh dusting of snow and the vendors were sparse. The wintry weather called for a warm, hearty soup and I had the perfect recipe in mind. I grabbed some fresh eggs and a hearty head of kale and headed home to warm up.
Heidi Swanson’s ‘Lively Up Yourself Lentil Soup’ from 101 Cookbooks is my go-to soup recipe. It is simple, delicious and adaptable. I have made the soup more than ten times, but I have never prepared it the same way. When I want a heartier soup I add sausage and squash. For a light soup I make the saffron yogurt drizzle Heidi recommends. My favorite variation is with Sriracha and a poached egg on top.
2 cups green French lentils
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes (I prefer fire roasted)
2 cups water or broth
3 cups of kale, rinsed well, deveined, finely chopped
2 teaspoons white vinegar
Sriracha to taste
Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan. While waiting for the water to boil, rinse and pick over the lentils. Add the lentils and cook for around 20 minutes until they are tender. Drain and set aside.
To poach the eggs, heat water in a saucepan until it is almost boiling. Add the vinegar to the water to help the egg whites to congeal. Crack an egg into a small cup, then hold the cup near the water’s surface and slide the egg in. Use a spoon to nudge the whites closer to the yolk to help the egg hold together. Turn off the heat, cover and let sit for 4 minutes until the egg whites are cooked. Lift eggs gently out of pan with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.
Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed soup pot. Add the onions and salt and cook until tender. Add the tomatoes, liquid and greens and bring back to a simmer. Simmer until the soup is warm and the greens are wilted. Season soup to taste with Sriracha. Ladle into bowls and top with a poached egg.