Jan 6, 2008

Lentil Soup

There are all sorts of recipes for lentil soup. All are good. Like any other soup, let your imagination run. I do, however, consistently add tomatoes to my lentil soup.

Lentils are one of my favorite foods anyway. I love Indian food and lentils play a big part in the form of dahl. Plenty of fiber and protein. They are also cheap to purchase and taste great.

The weather in the PNW has been very cold and wet. It snowed again today, if only for a moment. And the wind has really been harsh. Any soup is welcomed these days. But try this one and give it your own spin. Some crusty bread is required too. The inspiration for this particular recipe is from .

1 cup lentils (always a good idea to pick through them to make sure there are no funky ones or tiny stones. then give them a rinse in a strainer.)
2-4 garlic cloves, peeled (depends on how much garlic you like)
1 bay leaf
5 cups water
extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 can (14 ounces) tomatoes, chopped, with juice (the original recipe called for fresh tomatoes but in the winter i can't get locally grown tomatoes. besides, the store tomatoes for sale in the winter taste like nothing.)
1 small carrot, diced
dried thyme and basil
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1/2 cup small pasta (i used orzo)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan

In a medium saucepan add 4 cups water, lentils, bay leaf and 1 garlic clove. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, simmer 20 minutes. Drain through strainer set over a bowl in order to reserve the cooking liquid. Rinse lentils with cold water and set aside, along with the cooking water. Throw out the bay leaf. Mash the cooked garlic clove with remaining 3 garlic cloves and set aside.

In a heavy soup pot heat the oil over medium heat and add the onions and celery. Cook and stir until tender. Add tomatoes, mashed garlic, and cooked lentils. Cook while stirring for 5 minutes. Add cooking water from the lentils along with the remaining 1 cup water and all the dried herbs to taste. Bring to a simmer, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes over low heat. Add pasta at this point if you want and cook another 5 to 10 minutes, until the pasta is tender. Taste and adjust seasoning. Sprinkle with Parmesan if you like. Dip in with a hunk of crusty bread and enjoy!

Note: This soup will thicken naturally. But if you've added the pasta, in about an hour it will be as thick as stew, as in the photo. It’s even better!


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