It's been soooo cold here, and snowy even, it just makes me want to curl up with a nice, warm bowl of soup. Today, the soup that was calling my name is Lentil.
For excellent soup recipes, especially for a classically vegetarian soup, I always count on Mollie. This recipe comes from her classic Moosewood Cookbook. (I have both the original version from the 1970's and the 15 year anniversary edition, the latter is where I found this recipe).
The only change I made to the recipe was stirring in a few chopped spinach leaves a few minutes before serving. The drizzle of red wine vinegar was a revelation, it really added that little something extra that we didn't even know we had been missing! Try it, and you'll see.
Preparation time: about 1 hour Yield: 6 to 8 servings This is a very easy fat-free lentil soup that just about cooks itself. Only one pot is needed, so cleanup is easy.
3 cups dry lentils
7 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
6 to 8 medium garlic cloves, crushed
2 cups chopped onion
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 medium carrots, sliced or diced
1/2 to 1 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon oregano
lots of freshly ground black pepper
2 to 3 medium-sized ripe tomatoes (I used 1 can diced tomatoes, drained)
1/2 to 1 cup chopped fresh spinach (my addition; optional)
red wine vinegar, to drizzle on top
1) Place lentils, water and salt in a kettle. Bring to a boil, lower heat to lowest possible simmer, and cook quietly, partially covered, for 20 to 30 minutes.
2) Add vegetables (except tomatoes & spinach), herbs, and black pepper. I also added another 1 1/2 cups of water. Partially cover, and let simmer peacefully another 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3) Heat a medium saucepanful of water to boiling. Drop in the tomatoes for 10 seconds, then take them out peel off the skins, and squeeze out the seeds. Chop the remaining pulp and add to the soup. [or just throw in a can of tomatoes, who's going to know?]
Stir in about 1/2 to 1 cup chopped fresh spinach. Let the soup cook for at least 5 minutes more.
4) Serve hot, with a drizzle of vinegar on top of each steaming bowlful.