½ cup dried French-style lentils
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
600g diced veal shoulder
1 brown onion, cut into thin wedges
1 carrot, thinly sliced into rounds
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1L salt-reduced chicken stock
2 Tbsp tomato paste
4 sprigs thyme
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 baby fennel bulb
2 cups coarsely shredded silverbeet
Sea-salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper, to season
GREEN OLIVE SALSA
½ cup green Sicilian olives, pitted, thinly sliced
¼ red onion, very finely diced
Finely grated zest of ½ lemon
Rinse lentils under cold running water until water runs clear. Drain well and put in the bowl of a 4.5L slow cooker.
Heat ½ of the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add ½ of the veal and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add to slow-cooker bowl and repeat with remaining oil and veal.
Add onion, carrot, celery, garlic, stock, water, tomato paste, thyme and fennel seeds to bowl. Slice fennel bulb into thin wedges, reserving fronds for garnishing, and add to bowl. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Stir in silverbeet and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Season.
Meanwhile, to make green olive salsa, put all the ingredients in a small bowl, stirring to combine.
Serve soup topped with a little of the salsa and reserved fennel fronds.