You’ve heard me rant about those assholes who attend weekly farmers markets and join CSAs. (What’s a CSA? It’s Community Supported Agriculture in which a person buys a pre-paid “share” of a loacal farm and is presented with fresh random produce each week from that farm). Well readers, I’m now one of those assholes. But it wasn’t my idea. My vegetarian roommate approached me over gchat with a proposition: “Go halfsies on a CSA?” To which I said, sure, fuck it. Bring on the Kholrabi and Yukon golds! Which is probably good news for those of you in a CSA because as a food blogger I suppose I have a sort of holy mission to figure out how to cook something, make it look pretty and then tell the internet how I did it.
Soups are probably the best way to deal with your CSA, especially in the early Spring and Fall when the greens are sparse and parsnips and potatoes rule. Here’s one of my favorite simple soup recipes. The parmesan cheese garnish is KEY for this. The salty nutty taste just makes the lentils so much better. I like to use parsnips but add/substitute any sort of sturdy root veg like potatoes or leeks.
Makes 4-6 servings (loosely adapted from this recipe)
You will need:
1 ½ cups green French lentils
4 tablespoons extra–virgin olive oil
1 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes (keep the juices)
2 small parsnips, chopped into small cubes (about ¼ inch or smaller)
5 stalks kale (Lacinato is best), finely slices into ribbons
1 large yellow onion, chopped into small cubes (about ¼ inch or smaller)
1 cup celery, chopped into small cubes (about ¼ inch or smaller)
1 cup carrots, chopped into small cubes (about ¼ inch or smaller)
2 garlic cloves, chopped
4 cups vegetable broth + more (or water) to thin soup
6 Tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
1.In a large pot (I used my Martha Stewart faux Le Cruset) heat 3 Tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, parsnips, celery, carrots, and garlic; sauté until vegetables begin to brown, about 15 minutes. Add 4 cups broth, lentils, and tomatoes with juice and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium–low, cover, and simmer until lentils are tender, about 40 minutes. After 20 minutes at a simmer, add the kale so it simmers for about 15 minutes.
2.Transfer 2 cups soup (mostly solids and avoiding kale pieces) to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Return puree to soup in pan; thin soup with more broth if it’s really thick and add 1 Tablespoon of olive oil. Season with salt, pepper and serve in large bowls, garnish with Parmesan.