Monday, January 25, 2010

Lentil Tomato Soup

Here's my take on a lentil soup inspired by something I saw in the New York Times.  As I have said before, lentils are a great bean to cook "last minute", since they don't have to be soaked AND they can be completely cooked in 30 minutes!  I LOVE garlic, so this is a little garlic-y... just so you know...

  • olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 5 stalks celery with leaves, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 medium sized carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup vegetable broth (may use chicken broth if you prefer)
  • 5-6 cups water
  • 1 lb lentils (sorted and rinsed well)
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • salt & pepper to taste (I prefer grey sea salt because of the great minerals it contains and fresh ground black pepper because it tastes soooo good)
  • in a large stock pot, saute the onion, celery & garlic in some olive oil (just enough to barely coat the bottom of your pot, but enough to keep the veggies from sticking, too) over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes
  • add carrots and saute for another 2 or 3 minutes
  • add crushed tomatoes, vegetable broth and water.  Stir.
  • add lentils to pot, stir.
  • add bay leaves and rosemary (I like to put the rosemary into a tea-ball [used for steeping loose-leaf tea] and then remove it after cooking), salt & pepper
  • increase heat slightly, allowing soup to come to a boil, then reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for 40 minutes to an hour (checking from time to time, to make sure that it is still simmering, but has not lost too much liquid.  If it seems to be getting too low on liquid, add in a little water, keeping in mind that this should be a rich, hearty soup - not too watery)
  • at this point, the soup is ready to serve, although, it is MUCH better on the second day.  BE SURE TO REMOVE THE BAY LEAVES PRIOR TO SERVING! If I am making this a day before, I leave the bay leaves and the tea-ball with the rosemary in the pot, so that the flavors can meld longer.
  • top with some shredded parmesan cheese (and left-over greens ... the last time I made this soup, I also made the swiss chard in a previous post, the next day's left-overs were great when combined in one bowl!

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