Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Hearty Lentil Soup

If you were to ask me what Ken and I eat most, I would likely respond, "Lentil Soup." It's one of our all-time favorite meals since it's easy to make, inexpensive and a simple, hearty vegetarian and gluten-free meal (if you make it with water or vegetable broth.) We've doctored up this basic recipe at times to include potatoes, squash, chard, collard greens, or sausage. This recipe has gotten us through two winters as a married couple living on a conscientious budget. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do. Feel free to use this recipe as a base for many other creative lentil soups!

Lentil Soup with Smoked Paprika

by Mark Bittman, "How to Cook Everything"
makes 8 servings

3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 onions, chopped
2-3 carrots, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 celery stalks, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 cups lentils, washed and picked over
2 bay leaves
2 tsp. smoked paprika
10-12 cups vegetable, chicken or beef stock, or water
Freshly ground black pepper

Put the oil in a large, deep pot over medium eat. When hot, add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, just a minute or two. Add the carrot and celery and keep cooking and stirring until brightly colored and hot, about 2-4 minutes. 

Add the lentils, bay leaf, smoked paprika and stock (or water); sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender, about 30-45 minutes. (At this point, you may cool and refrigerate the soup, covered for up to 2 days; reheat gently.) Add more stock if the soup is too thick. Just before serving, taste, sprinkle with salt and more pepper if needed, and serve. This soup is great paired with rolls or a sandwich.

Note: We like to freeze some of the soup in large yogurt containers so that we can pull it from the freezer anytime the fridge is sparse. Enjoy!

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