In the autumn, I automatically am drawn to making soup, especially hearty ones. Give me a recipe with beans, pork, onions, lots of garlic and a potato or two and I’m good to go. A week ago I made soup with potatoes, sausage, beer and cheddar cheese. It was delicious. No beans in it, but it was still good.
I love lentil soup. I make it a few times each year and always make too much of it. I tried to save it by freezing it but the lentils were too mushy when I thawed the soup and reheated it. I won’t do that again. I guess I’ll have to discipline myself to make only a half recipe or give half of it away.
The best recipe for lentil soup that I ever found was from Cooking Light magazine. I have a love/hate relationship with Cooking Light. I have been disappointed in about half of the recipes I tried from that magazine and enjoyed about half. I suppose that’s not a bad ratio, but the disappointing recipes were very disappointing and some of the ones I enjoyed were “doctored up” by me and not followed exactly as written. However, this one for lentil soup was followed exactly and I was very pleased with it and therefore recommend it with no reservations.
Read the ingredient list carefully before you start to make it. It calls for fresh dill and I wouldn’t try substituting dried, if I were you.
BEST LENTIL SOUP (from Cooking Light magazine)
2 T. olive oil
1 1/2 c. chopped onion
1/2 c. chopped celery
1/2 c. chopped carrot
2 garlic cloves, minced
5 1/2 c. water (or combination of water and chicken broth)*
1 1/2 c. dried lentils
2 T. chopped fresh dill, divided
2 bay leaves
1 dried red chile pepper (if you only have red pepper flakes, use those, to taste)
1 – 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 T. balsamic vinegar
3/4 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
3/4 c. (3 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, celery, and garlic; cook 10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender, stirring frequently.
Add water, dried lentils, 1 tablespoon dill, bay leaves, chile, and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or until lentils are tender.
Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon dill, vinegar, salt, and black pepper; discard bay leaves and chile. Sprinkle with cheese.
*I sometimes use the combination 4 c. broth and 1 1/2 c. water. I also sometimes add some cubed ham or sliced polish sausage.