This isn’t a gourmet recipe. It isn’t particularly attractive either. Lentils are the ugly step-sisters of the legume family. Once in awhile, though, they step up to the dinner plate and make a worthy, albeit homely, impression.
The following simple, earthy soup appeared on the web site the kitchn. The kitchn’s (their spelling, not mine) recipe calls for cooking raw chicken thighs with lentils and then removing and shredding the meat when it’s done. I had roasted a whole chicken the night before and was looking for a way to turn leftover cooked chicken into another dinner.
As they say, where there’s a will, there’s a way. Since I had less chicken than the recipe called for, I slightly reduced the amount of lentils and chicken broth and added the shredded cooked chicken near the end of the cooking time.
There isn’t a lot of seasoning in this soup, which caused me a moment of hesitation, but the kitchn is a respected source of online recipes and I decided to give it a go. Good decision. It was delicious, and even better for the several lunches it provided over the next two days. Overall, it’s an excellent and economical alternative for leftover rotisserie chicken.
BTW, the main difference between green and brown lentils? Green lentils keep their shape when cooked, unlike brown lentils, which tend to dissolve into their cooking liquid. Green lentils are also called French lentils and are widely available at stores like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods.
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups green (French) lentils
2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken, skin and visible fat removed
Grated Parmesan cheese
Heat oil in a large Dutch oven and add onion, celery, carrots and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until vegetables have softened, about 10 minutes. Add tomato paste and stir to coat vegetables.
Add chicken stock and lentils and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and continue cooking about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lentils are fully cooked. At this point you can puree half the soup to make it thicker, or not. Add the shredded rotisserie chicken and heat through. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.
WW Points per serving: 5