Tuesday, November 13, 2007

French Green Lentil Soup

I haven't posted many recipes here which was one of the things I intended to do with this blog so here's one.

(from Bon Appetit magazine, December 2006)

1 1/4 cups French green lentils, rinsed and drained
2 cups diced white onion
1 cup sliced celery stalk
1 cup sliced carrot
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 14-oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
4 cups vegetable broth
2 tbsp olive oil
Balsamic vinegar (optional)

Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrot, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Add the vegetable broth, lentils, and tomatoes. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes or until lentils are tender.

Transfer 2 cups of soup (mostly solids) to a blender and puree until smooth. Return puree to soup pot and stir. Season with salt and pepper and a splash of vinegar (if desired).

This is sort of the basic recipe; many things can be added to it according to one's individual tastes or desires. For example, last night I browned ~1/2 pound of turkey breakfast sausage links in a separate frying pan, cut them into chunks, and added them into the soup after the pureƩ step.

I think the next time I make this I want to experiment with some other seasonings. S&P are all well and good but I think it needs something a little more zesty.

And lastly, why French green lentils (specialty) and not just plain old green or brown lentils one can find at any grocery store? It's worth seeking them out because their flavor is more intense and earthy than other lentils. The recipe is timed to accommodate the longer cooking time and more robust structural integrity of French green lentils so I can't vouch for what might happen if one used another kind of lentil. Lentil mush, maybe? I buy my French green lentils in bulk at the Ann Arbor Whole Foods store. However, I see that Bob's Red Mill has packaged French green lentils (I love Bob's Red Mill! I put his ground flaxseed meal into all kinds of things).

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