Sunday, March 1, 2015

Lentil Soup, Plain and Simple

When I say this is plain and simple lentil soup, I mean that it's not flashy. However, that does not mean it isn't good.
Lentil soup may not be the most gorgeous potage of all time, but it can really be nice and comforting when it's cold outside.
This version of lentil soup is thick, not too brothy, as some lentil soups can be. I suppose in a way it's like split pea soup, but the lentils won't break down very much as those peas tend to do. 
And not being a puree, there's just a bit of tooth to it.

The other thing about this soup is that it contains what I consider staples. The carrots, onions, garlic, celery and olive oil, plus broths are things that should be present in a well-stocked kitchen. Maybe not everyone has lentils laying around, but they're not a bad thing to have in the pantry. Dried and easy to store, they're just waiting to be used.  If they're not already present in your cabinet, perhaps they should be considered as you can easily create a meal without having to run out to the store.

Besides being low in fat and high in fiber, a thick and hearty lentil soup is filling and fabulous in winter. It has a way of really hitting the spot on a frigid day.

Possible soup accompaniments:
olive oil
plain yogurt or sour cream
minced fresh parsley, cilantro, or sliced green onions

Lentil Soup 
serves 6-10

3 cups (620 g)  French lentils
3 T (75 ml) olive oil
1 large carrot, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 T (40 g) tomato paste
6 large cloves garlic, minced
9 cups (2. 12 liters) vegetable broth
1 T (17 g) kosher salt
3/4 t (less than 1 g, so to taste) freshly ground black pepper
1 t (1 g) dried thyme
1 t (1 g) dried oregano

Rinse the lentils well and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the carrots, celery, and onions and saute several minutes until the onion is translucent and just begins to color. Add the tomato paste and continue to stir about 2 more minutes. Add the garlic and saute about 30 seconds, until it warms through and begins to smell garlicky.

Pour in the vegetable broth as well as the rinsed lentils. Add salt, pepper, the thyme and oregano, and stir everything through the soup. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Place a cocked lid on top of pot and simmer about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally and adding extra broth or water if the soup becomes too thick.
Season to taste and serve as desired.

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