Tuesday, 1 November 2005
One of my friends mentioned lentil soup last week, and true to form it percolated in my head until today, when I decided I really wanted to try it. Yum, lentil soup! I have a recipe from the Moosewood Cookbook, so I kind of cadged from that and invented something. My big complaint is that I forgot the bay leaves, so there's that flavor missing. I also think I used too many lentils, but I love thick chunky soup so that's not really a complaint.
I also started NaNoWriMo today. Got farther than I expected, which I'm hoping is a sign of things to come rather than a curse on my effort. It just kind of came flowing out of my fingers this morning, and I'm working on it for another hour or so here. We'll see how it goes; my plan is just to push myself a little and see what happens. I haven't got a real plot, just a setup and some characters. So far, anyway.
So, here's how I interpret lentil soup. Get yourself a couple of carrots, about three stalks of celery, an onion (I use yellow, medium sized), a can of crushed tomatoes, a bag of lentils (a pound or so), four or five cloves of garlic, and some kind of pork meat thing (bacon, sausage, salt pork, whatever you have or like). Chop up the meat into inch-square bits, and saute them in a soup pot until the fat is rendered. Chop up the onion as chunky or fine as you like and throw that in. Add oil if there isn't enough fat, and stir it up. Mince the garlic and throw that in. Let it cook a while, stirring occasionally, until the onions are nice and soft. Throw in about 32 oz of broth, or the equivalent of water, or whatever mix thereof you've got. Stir. Add the lentils, a bay leaf or two, the celery chopped up, and the can of tomatoes. Bring to a boil and let it simmer gently for about twenty minutes. Slice up the carrots and add them in, along with some basil, oregano, and thyme, and lots of pepper. Oh, and probably about a teaspoon of salt. Simmer another half hour or so (I went and did tae bo), and then see if the lentils are soft.
Stir it up, dish it out, and eat. Yum! It's really tasty, even without the bay leaf. I have a history of making bland and uninteresting soups, but this one is definitely worth it. I think I do better with legumes in a little broth than I do with something like chicken soup.
As ever, if you try it, let me know how it turned out. I thought about adding extra vegetables, but decided not to this time. And I'm sure you could make it without the meat, if you don't eat it. The original Moosewood recipe is vegetarian, and I know it's good. It calls for fresh tomatoes and a dribble of vinegar on top. Hmm, I should try the vinegar on this and see how it is.
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