Monday, October 27, 2008

Lentil Soup

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.

Lentil Soup

Serves 4

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.


Peter M said...

The Greek lentil soup (Fakkes) is almost like this (save for the bacon).

It's one of my faves...glad you like lentils now.

Grace said...

i love the texture of lentils. this is comfort food extraordinaire, and just looking at it makes me warm inside. :)

Rosie said...

Your soup looks a great with those lentils. Nice to eat on a cold day like we're having here in the U.K. at the moment.

Rosie x

Mike of Mike's Table said...

I really need to start cooking with lentils. I love soups like these--it looks great!

Maris said...

I love lentil soup - I like the idea of making it with bacon. I usually use ham but this sounds like a nice change!

Elizabeth said...

ohh yes I love lentils, I always make them for myself. I soak the lentils in water overnight, then it only takes 10 minutes to cook :)
Thank you for the post, I haven't use tomato paste, will try it next time! I have tried it with oregano and cumin, tastes great.