Monday, April 25, 2011

What's Cookin?: (Meatless Monday) French Lentil & Vegetable Soup

I will preface this post by saying my Meatless Monday posts are not vegetarian dishes. My goal is to diminish my intake of red meats. Thus, today's recipe contains lentils and vegetables but uses chicken stock for flavor.

I was also able to thin and pinch back my thyme seedlings today. I decided to use them in my recipe. What a great aroma! Because they are just babies, they weren't as pungent as a full grown plant. I found myself using more than the recipe called for. I even sprinkled in some dried thyme to add another depth of flavor.

I used Ina Garten's recipe with a few minor tweaks. I also halved the recipe. The original makes 8-10 servings. This recipe also used my new favorite legume...the French lentil.
The recipe turned out great! It went perfectly for the crazy weather we had today (cold, occasional downpours, hail and wind)!

French Lentil & Vegetable Soup
Adapted from a recipe by Ina Garten
Servings: 4-6, Total Cook Time: 1 hr 45 min

1/2 lb. French green lentils, picked over and rinsed
boiling water
1/8 c. extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 medium cloves of garlic, minced
1 large leek, white & tender green parts only, chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 Tbsp. fresh thyme
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
4 celery ribs, cut into 1/2 inch dice
3 medium carrots, peels and cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 (1 qt.) box + 1 (14.5 oz) can chicken stock (or about 1 & 1/2 qt)
1/8 c. + 1 extra tsp. tomato paste
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

1) In a large heatproof bowl, cover the lentils with boiling water and let them stand for about 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2) While lentils are soaking, heat the olive oil in a large pot. Add the onions, garlic and leeks. Add salt and pepper, thyme and cumin and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very tender, 10-15 minutes.

3) Add the celery and carrots and cook further until these begin to soften, about 10 minutes.
4) Add the chicken stock, tomato paste and lentils to the pot. Increase the heat to high, cover the pot and bring the soup to a boil. Uncover, reduce the heat to moderate and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender, about 45-60 minutes.

5) Turn off heat and stir in the red wine vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

6) Serve the soup hot with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.

The soup can be refrigerated for 2-3 days. Let soup return to room temperature and reheat gently. Add more stock to adjust the consistency if needed.


the red headed traveler said...

Thanks for the recipe! My husband isn't a big fan but I adore lentils. And soup is the perfect thing on a cold and rainy day :)

Jessica said...

I really like lentils; easy to cook and make great soups.

Mark Willis said...

That must have been a really tasty soup! As you say, it's not veggie, but I think that the basis of a good soup has to be home-made chicken stock...

The author said...

What extremely yummy looking soup! I may have to try it very soon!

The author said...

Holly, I wanted to tell you I am so sorry I never got back to you about the seeds you would have sent me. Around that time my whole life turned upside down! I hope that you gave them to someone that really needed them. If not, I actually have a patch of ground to put them on again. Thank you for promoting such a great project. :)

~Holly~ said...

Thanks for all of the comments. I give this soup my full endorsement. It was soooo yummy!!

The author-I still have seeds so message me your address and I'll mail them to you!