4smallshallots, minced (this will be around 1/2 cup or 8 tablespoons)
5large clovesgarlic, minced
1 cup(200g)cooked lentils*, green or brown
1Tbspmixed Italian herbs / seasoning
1pinchchili or red pepper flakes, optional
½cup(120ml)dry white wine
1lb(450g)potatoes, peeled and cubed
3.5oz(100g)kale or cavolo nero, chopped finely with stems removed
¼cup(60ml)heavy cream, aka double cream
½cup(8tbsp)parmesan or other Italian hard cheese*, more for topping
1 handfulfresh basil, optional, if it is available
First things first, if you are cooking the lentils from dried, start them off first - they can cook while you prep your other ingredients.
When you're ready to roll, heat a little olive or coconut oil in a large soup pan. Saute your shallots until soft, then add the garlic and continue to saute until they are fragrant.
Add the fennel seeds for a few moments until you can smell them toasting and then quickly add in the lentils and the rest of the spices (smoked paprika, Italian seasoning, sage, optional chili or pepper flakes).
Cook the lentils in the spices for a minute or two, adding a little extra oil if the pan gets too dry, until they are nicely coated and fragrant. Add salt and pepper to taste - I'd recommend being generous with both!
Add the white wine and let it bubble and cook down a bit until your lentil mixture is a little saucy but not overly wet.
Now add the potatoes and vegetable broth. Bring to a simmer and leave for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked - if you prefer to have the potatoes a little softer and breaking apart, you can cook them a little longer.
Once the potatoes are cooked, mix in the kale until wilted.
Add the parmesan cheese and then, finally, the cream. Turn off the heat, but stir until the soup is creamy and the cheese is melted in.
Serve immediately with additional cheese and optional fresh basil for topping.
*If you're cooking the lentils from dried, your starting point would be just shy of 1/2 a cup of dried lentils. I'd always recommend making a bigger batch and saving some though! If you're using canned lentils, you'll want about 2/3rds of the can but I wouldn't hesitate to just use the whole can here, it's a flexible enough recipe to accommodate some extra lentil goodness!**If you're using a bouillon / stock cube for this, don't hesitate to mix it with a little extra strength for this soup.