Winter Vegetable Lentil Chowder

Ingredients: 

4 (14.5 oz.) cans regular-strength chicken broth
2 (14.5 oz.) cans water (use empty broth cans to measure)
1 tsp. coriander seed, ground
½ tsp. whole allspice, ground
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest (skin from 1 lemon)
1 cup uncooked lentils (about 6 oz. dry)
3 med. leeks (about 1 lb. total)
1½ lbs. banana squash, peeled, cut into ½ inch cubes
¾ lb. Swiss chard, washed, cut into ¼ inch strips
Salt and pepper to taste

Equipment:

5-6 qt. pot with tight-fitting lid
Large spoon
Cutting board & sharp knife
Measuring cups & spoons
Mortar and pestle
Peeler
Ladle

Preparation: 

Pour the broth and water into a large pot. Cover and bring it to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, place the coriander and allspice in a mortar and grind them with the pestle into a fine powder. Grate the lemon peel. Sort and discard debris from the lentils and rinse them well. Add the coriander, allspice, lemon rind, and lentils to the liquid. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Trim dark tops and roots off the leeks. Split in half lengthwise; rinse well under running water and a drop of dish detergent; slice thinly. Peel squash and cut into ½ inch cubes. Add the squash and leeks to the lentils and broth. Cover and continue to simmer until the lentils and squash are tender to bite, about another 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut chard into ¼ inch strips; clean by soaking the chard in cool water and a drop of dish detergent or produce wash, rinse thoroughly and drain. Pat the chard dry with a paper towel. Right before serving, add the chard to the soup; simmer uncovered, until wilted, about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Makes 10 cups.

Nutrition per serving: 

Each cup provides 145 calories., 10 grams protein,
1 gram fat, and 8 grams fiber.

Adapted from a recipe in Sunset Light and Healthy column, February 1992.

Tips For This Recipe:

  • You can substitute ground allspice and coriander in this recipe but the flavor is less intense than if you grind the spices yourself.
  • Try cutting the squash under running water. It helps make the squash less slippery and easier to cut into cubes.
  • The lentils in this recipe make it high in fiber and the squash and chard contain cancer-protective carotenoids.