Sunday, November 29, 2009

Lentil Soup

We love our soups and especially one that is hearty, nutritional, filling, a good source of protein, freezes nicely and happens to be quick and easy. As is the case with many things, it is much better the following day as flavors have had an opportunity to meld. Cooking enough soup to eat for several days and then freezing any remainder is always a plus for us, so think about doubling this recipe to ensure you have enough to freeze, and consider making it the day before serving. Many of my recipes are not written down, so I documented these ingredients while making it yesterday for the purpose of sharing it with you.

Interesting is that many of the soups and dishes we prepare begin with a basic onion-carrot-celery-garlic-salt-and-pepper base. From there lots of things can develop, and in this case it's...

Lentil Soup from Diana's kitchen

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Sprinkle of kosher salt
1-2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground coriander
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

2 quarts chicken or vegetable broth (we use a local free range chicken stock)
1 pound well-rinsed and drained lentils
2 cups peeled and chopped tomatoes (they are ready to go from the freezer)

1 teaspoon kosher salt (or more, to taste)
2 Tablespoon of balsamic vinegar

** Kale (an optional event)

Place the olive oil into a large Dutch oven, heat, and add onion, carrot, celery, ground pepper, just a sprinkle of salt, and the garlic. Cook on low until the onions are translucent (5-6 minutes). Add coriander, cumin, cayenne, and stir. Add broth, lentils, and tomatoes.

Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce to low heat, cover and simmer with the lid slightly tilted until the lentils are tender, approximately 40 minutes. We like this soup as is... a nice coarseness to it, but you may want to puree a portion of it to suit a consistency you most enjoy.

When it is done, add the teaspoon of salt, stir in the vinegar, and taste for any adjustments.

** I happened to have a little kale left over from an Italian sausage and potato soup I made last week, and since I didn't want it to go bad, I chopped it up and tossed it in the soup for just a couple minutes.

Any way you prefer, serve with a slice of a favorite coarse bread (or not), a glass of wine (or not), and for us it is a perfect meal.