Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Lentil and Vegetable Soup

I watched Ina Garten make this soup on her show recently, and it looked so good. And then I realized I had the recipe in one of her cookbooks that I own. Here is the full recipe which serves 8-10, but I cut it in half.

1 pound French green lentils, picked over and rinsed
Boiling water
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
4 cups chopped yellow onions (3 large onions)
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
4 cups chopped leeks, white and tender green parts only (2 large leeks)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon chopped thyme
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 cups celery, cut into 1/2-inch dice (8 celery ribs)
3 cups carrots, cut into 1/2-inch dice (6 carrots)
3 quarts chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 tablespoons dry red wine or red wine vinegar
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

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

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pot. Add the onions, garlic, leeks, 1 tablespoon of salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons of pepper and the thyme and cumin and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very tender, about 20 minutes.

Add the celery and carrots and cook until they begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the chicken stock, tomato paste and lentils to the pot. Increase the heat to high, cover and bring to a boil. Uncover, reduce the heat to moderate and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender, about 1 hour. Stir in the red wine and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of Parmesan.

Cutting it in half was the perfect amount for two people for dinner and leftovers for lunch. The cumin gave it a really good flavor, and I used homemade chicken stock which made a huge difference (more on that later). I loved the parmesan on top...I actually wish I had made parmesan croutons or toasts instead, that would have been even better. Next time!

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