Swiss Chard Redux

OK, so every time I make this soup, it turns out differently. But it is delicious each and every time.

Here’s my question for you, fellow soup savants:  Why is it when you  remake a tried and true soup recipe, the end results can turn out so differently?

I know. I know. We soup lovers like to make soup because, well, because it’s a little more free flowing than, say, baking puff pastry.  Add a little here. Adjust. Toss in some more water. A splash of lemon , a pinch more salt …

The art of making soup is just that. It’s an art, not a science. Still, it’s amazing how different one batch can be from the next — even when you actually follow the recipe.

Case in point:  The following Lentil Swiss Chard Soup that I found on

Any gardener knows that the only thing more pernicious than zucchini is  swiss chard . It just keeps on keepin’ on. And the only thing to be done with large batches of it is to  soupify it. (Hey, if Rachel Ray can make up words, so can I.)

In any event, I like this recipe a lot … it’s got a lot of spicing in it and is more like a very healthy chili.  It may vary from one batch to the next, but it’s always good.

Lentil and Swiss Chard Soup (courtesy of

1 cup dried lentils, sorted and rinsed
1 bunch swiss chard, rinsed and roughly torn, stems removed
1 (16 ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 red potatoes, washed, cut in 1-inch cubes
1 white onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, scrubbed, sliced
3 garlic cloves, pressed
5 -6 cups chicken broth or 5 -6 cups vegetable broth
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon seasoning salt  (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Place all ingredients in a 5 to 6 quart crockpot, stir, and cook for 4 hours on high or 6 to 8 hours on low. Lentils and other vegetables should be cooked but not overly soft. Remove bay leaves, stir and serve with fresh baked cornbread and jalapeno pepper sauce on the side.

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