Cumin Scented Tomato-Lentil Soup with Swiss Chard and Saffron Yogurt

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup French lentils
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups vegetable stock (home made is preferred)
  • 1 bunch swiss chard, stems removed
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 3 Tbsp warm water
  • 1 pinch saffron threads
  • 1 cup plain strained Greek yogurt
  • Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper

In a small cup, add the saffron threads to the warm water and set aside to let bloom.  In a large pot over low heat, sauté onions, carrots, celery in olive oil until soft and fragrant.  Add the garlic, thyme and cumin and cook one minute more.  Add lentils, white wine, bay leaf and tomatoes.  Cover the pot and simmer for about 5 minutes.  Add the vegetable stock, cover again and cook 20-30 minutes or until lentils are tender and no longer sandy in texture.  Chop the Swiss chard leaves into bite sized pieces and add to soup.  Cook just a few minutes more, add lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Combine saffron water and yogurt and small pinch of salt and mix until smooth and even in color.  Portion soup into bowls and top each one with a dollop of yogurt.