One of my avid readers (perhaps the only avid reader of my blog besides my dad — who is really only considered an avid reader because I signed him up for an email subscription of my newly posted blogs thus forcing him to become an avid reader) recently suggested more soup recipes. If there are any other (silent) avid readers out there wondering what’s with all the soup recipes recently, that’s why. Specifically she asked for a lentil soup recipe. I’m guessing this is because lentils are healthy, full of fiber, and cheap (especially when buying in bulk).
Let me share something with you: before I made this soup recipe, I knew squat about lentils. I never actually tried making a lentil soup before and generally stay away from eating them at restaurants. (Too healthy.) I turned to my Sis who I thought would have more expertise (and she does) only to find out that Sis is rather picky about her lentils. I suggested several lentil soups that sounded good and she vetoed the first four I suggested. Obviously it was a bit difficult to find a lentil soup recipe we both agreed on, but agreeing on a recipe was essential. I’m not going to eat six servings of lentil soup and neither is she. So I combined two lentil soup recipes from The Soup Bible to make my own:
- 1 ⅓ c. red lentils, rinsed and drained
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 8 cloves of garlic
- 1 onion, quartered
- 2 shallots, quartered
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 T. olive oil
- 2 c. chicken stock or broth (or more, if needed — enough to cover all ingredients)
- 1 T. half & half (optional)
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- generous pinch of dried oregano
- Combine first eight ingredients in a large, heavy bottom pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower the heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent the lentils from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Remove the bay leaves. Puree the mixture in a blender or food processor in batches. Transfer to a new pot while you’re pureeing. Add half & half, salt and pepper, and oregano.
- Serve with crusty bread.
A few things:
- Here’s what I learned about red lentils: they are great for making a quick soup. They’re different than other lentils in that you don’t have to soak them in water before you can cook with them.
- I don’t know why red lentils are labeled “red” because they are actually more orange in color and when you cook them they turn mustard yellow.
- Lentils and split peas kill me. I don’t get it. Where does the “pod” go when you boil them? They just turn into mush. It’s really quite strange science if you ask me. If I want to make bean soup (say black bean) I have to puree the beans. Why don’t beans turn into mush like lentils and split peas?
- This soup “burps” while you cook it. As it slowly simmers away on the stove it rattles and shakes the range top every time it burps.
- I tagged this post “cooking with fresh herbs” because I used two bay leaves and fresh chopped oregano from my sister’s garden!
- Lentil soup tastes great!