Is there anything more comforting than a bowl of hearty warm soup on a cold windy day? I could eat soup every day, especially during the winter months. Although smooth and creamy soups are my favorite, I absolutely love this soup. It is comforting, filling and full of vegetables, and tastes great fresh off the stove, but also the following day, when the flavors have had time to sit together. It’s quick and easy to make, the hardest part is probably all the chopping of the vegetables… and how hard is that! Serve it with some fresh bread and you have the perfect dinner on a cold winter’s night, and the ultimate comfort food! Someone said that, “Soup is cuisine’s kindest course. It breathes reassurance; it steams consolation”, and it is so true! After a rough day, there is nothing more reassuring than a bowl of steaming hot soup! So next time you crave this comfort, try this Lentil Vegetable Soup!
Lentil Vegetable Soup
(Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa)
YOU WILL NEED:
1 lb French green lentils (I used regular lentils, and reduced the amount to about 3/4 lb)
3 large onions, chopped
2 leeks (white part only), chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 – 2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs kosher salt (adjust this depending on how salty your chicken stock is)
Dash of freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp ground cumin (this is what gives the soup its great flavor!)
5 stalks celery, chopped
6 carrots, chopped
12 cups chicken stock (substitute with vegetable stock for vegetarian soup. The soup is pretty thick, so if you prefer soup that isn’t very thick, add more stock)
1/4 cup tomato paste
(Optional – 2 tbs red wine or red wine vinegar)
*You could add sausage, ham or shredded chicken to the soup too
1. First, prepare your lentils. Follow the directions on the packaging, or place the lentils in a large bowl and cover it with boiling water for 15 minutes, then drain them. Set aside.
2. Add olive oil to a large stock pot, and saute onions, leeks and minced garlic for about 20 minutes, seasoning them right away (salt, pepper, thyme and cumin). Add the carrots and celery, and cook for another 10 minutes.
3. Pour in the chicken stock, tomato paste and lentils, stir well and bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and let the soup simmer uncovered for 40 minutes to an hour, until the lentils are cooked well. Serve with fresh bread!
Happy Cooking, Everyone!