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Chicken, lentil and kale soup

Of all the legumes, lentils are the quickest to cook and don't require overnight soaking. Nonetheless, slowly and gently simmering the chicken in chicken stock ensures this soup has great depth of flavour, while handfuls of kale up the green quotient.

You'll need

1½ tbsp olive oil 1 onion, diced 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 1 chicken (about 1.8kg), rinsed inside and out under cold water 2.5 litres (10 cups) chicken stock 120 gm spelt (see note) 1 cinnamon quill 1 fresh bay leaf 200 gm small green or black lentils 80 gm pearl barley 200 gm natural yoghurt 120 gm kale, coarsely torn 2 tbsp lemon juice To serve: crusty bread


  • 01
  • Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add onion, celery and garlic, and sauté until tender (4-5 minutes).
  • 02
  • Meanwhile, trim excess fat and parson’s nose from chicken, then add chicken to pan with stock, spelt, cinnamon and bay leaf (chicken should be completely submerged; if not, top up with cold water). Reduce heat to medium, bring to the simmer and cook half-covered until chicken is falling from the bone (45-50 minutes; skim off any scum or fat that rises to the surface).
  • 03
  • Remove chicken from broth (set aside), add lentils and pearl barley, bring to the simmer over medium-high heat and cook until tender (20-25 minutes).
  • 04
  • Meanwhile, coarsely shred chicken (discard skin, bones and sinew). When lentils and barley are cooked, add chicken to broth along with yoghurt and warm through but do not boil.
  • 05
  • Toss kale and lemon juice in a bowl, season to taste, then rub kale with your hands until it begins to wilt (2-3 minutes). Divide among serving bowls, ladle hot soup over and serve with crusty bread.
Note Spelt is available from select health-food shops and the health-food section of some supermarkets.

At A Glance

  • Serves 4 - 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 - 6 people

Drink Suggestion

Medium-dry Sherry.

Featured in

Jun 2014

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