Monday, September 26, 2011

Sunday Soups: Lentil Vegetable

I hope everyone had a great weekend.  I went for a couple of nice walks each day, but our weather has been alternating between rain and humidity, giving me reason to keep busy with some indoor projects, one of which I'll share with you tomorrow.  I was so preoccupied with projects that I forgot to start the soup on time. This is a very simple soup to make, but you need to start it early- not, say, at 5:45 if you're expecting to have it for dinner.  I was planning to serve it with sausage on top and a fresh baguette I picked up at the bakery, but we wound up having grilled sausage, garden tomato salad and some of the baguette for dinner.  It was fantastic; I can't really complain.  We'll eat this soup for lunch all week.

I've stolen ideas from a few different recipes to put this together.  I'm basically following the Moosewood  Cookbook recipe, with a nod to the Barefoot Contessa, who adds leeks, and my friend Lisa, who adds sausage.  The sausage makes the soup heartier for dinner, but without it, you have a healthy, vegetarian lunch. 
These are the first leeks I've pulled from our garden, after they've been trimmed up nicely.  They didn't grow to be too big, but they still taste like leeks.

Lentil Vegetable Soup
adapted from the Moosewood Cookbook

Simmer for 3-4 hours:
1 16 ounce bag raw lentils
7 cups water
2 teaspoons salt

Sauté in olive oil in a separate pan for about 20 minutes as you're approaching the 3-4 hour mark:
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped leeks (white part only)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano

Once the vegetables soften, add them to the lentils and continue to simmer for half an hour over low heat, while you add the final ingredients:
lots of black pepper
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
2 Tablespoons dry red wine (which means you have to open a bottle and have a glass or two)
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 Tablespoons brown sugar (or molasses)
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar

Top with fresh chopped scallions and a sprinkle of red wine vinegar.  And sausage, if you are so inclined.  We often have it with sweet Italian, but chicken apple also adds a special twist.

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