|Doesn't quite make your mouth water.|
The instructions puzzled me. Specifically, Slater calls for you to set aside "four beautiful (chard) stalks and their leaves" while chopping the rest and cooking them into a sludgy soup. You are supposed to steam those four beautiful pieces of chard separately -- and whole -- then stir them into the soup at the end. I wonder if chard is smaller in Britain, because my every leaf of chard was the size of a tennis racket, or racquet, and I could not see how I could possibly steam these things whole. Also, I was unexcited about steaming something to put into soup, especially lentil soup, which is supposed to be easy and frumpy.
So I ignored this part of the recipe. I just chopped all the chard and cooked it together with the lentils, pancetta, onion, etc. My husband said he loved the soup, "except for that green stuff." When he went back for seconds he said he was going to "sieve out the kale." (He didn't end up sieving it out, but he didn't eat it.)
I liked the soup a lot. My only complaint about this recipe is that I didn't really need it: I could have improvised the soup. I am worried this will be true of a lot of Slater's recipes.
Incidentally, I bought the pancetta for the soup, even though homemade pancetta is easy to make and much cheaper. (Interested in making pancetta? I am going to do a tutorial on the blog next week.) But I didn't want to wait a week for it to cure. Then, after I'd bought the pancetta, I was digging around in the freezer and discovered a big bag of pink chunks that appeared to be frozen homemade pancetta. Sometimes I think the most valuable and underused tool in my kitchen is a Sharpie.
On another subject, I was on Marketplace the other day, interviewed by Tess Vigeland, who is as lovely and warm as she sounds on the radio. I have not listened to the clip, but my husband says that I did not embarrass myself.