Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Tuesday Do-Little Dinners: Homemade Lentil Soup

Normally, come almost-May, I would not be doing a whole lot of soup-cooking. However, since yesterday the high was 37 degrees, and in the past four days it has actually SNOWED, lentil soup sounds just fine. If it's sunny and 70 where you live, sorry for the wintry Tuesday Do-Little Dinner this week. However, consider making it anyway. I LOVE this lentil soup recipe (clipped from a forgotten magazine some six or seven years ago and adapted slightly here). It is simple, but so very tasty. I don't know if it really qualifies as "do-little," because it does require a fair amount of vegetable chopping, but you can easily use frozen carrot coins in lieu of fresh carrots, and anyway, it's just so yummy I think you'll find it worth any effort involved. I love soup as a main course, served with any kind of bread and either salad or fresh fruit.

Lentil-Vegetable Soup
6 servings

1 T. olive oil
1 small white or yellow onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, diced finely
2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed through a press
1 cup diced carrots (or frozen carrot slices)
8 cups vegetable broth (NOTE: I use 8 cups water plus 4 Knorr extra-large vegetable bouillon cubes)
1-1/4 cups uncooked lentils (the regular greenish-brown variety)
1/2 tsp. salt (optional), or to taste
1/4 tsp. black pepper, or to taste
2 tsp. red wine or balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. dijon or spicy brown mustard

Heat oil in large soup pot over medium heat, then add onion, celery, garlic, and carrots. Saute vegetables until onion is translucent. Add vegetable broth and lentils, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered until lentils are tender but not mushy, about 25 minutes. Just before serving, stir in salt, pepper, vinegar, and mustard.

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