Monday, October 27, 2008
As soon as the weather begins to cool, I crave soup. I enjoy the process of making soup almost as much as eating the soup. Chopping, simmering, stirring, all the while the house filling with a delicious aroma, I find it very therapeutic.
Recently I decided to give lentil soup a try. Lentils are a legumes and are incredible good for you. They are packed with fiber and heart healthy minerals as well as tons of protein. All that and a bag of dry lentils will run you about seventy-five cents!
This soup very is rich and hearty. In fact my carnivorous husband agreed that it was extremely filling despite the lack of meat. High praise indeed! Well there is a bit of bacon and chicken broth, so it not completely vegetarian. If you want to make it completely vegetarian just leave out bacon and saute the carrots, onions, and celery in a little olive oil and use water in place of the chicken broth.
3 strips (3 ounces) bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 celery stalk cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 cups lentils, picked over and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) reduced-sodium chicken broth (3 1/2 cups)
2 cups of water
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
In a Dutch oven (or other 5-quart pot with a tight-fitting lid), cook bacon over medium-low heat until browned and crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat.
Add onion and carrots and celery; cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomato paste, and cook 1 minute.
Add lentils, thyme, bay leaf, broth, and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer. Cover; cook until lentils are tender, 30 to 45 minutes.
Stir in vinegar, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Serve immediately.
I added just a bit of sour cream to the top before serving.