Lentil Soup

Every site out there tells you to eat more lentils.  They’re super-healthy, they’re high in fiber – but mostly it’s that awesome earthy flavour that wins on cold winter days.  Lentil soups are a low-maintenance method of getting more of these petite little legumes into a daily diet.  This one is fast and tastes fab with even the household omnivores on-board: so it’s a great recipe to feed even the finicky foodies in your entourage.  It’s loosely based on the French Lentil Soup from Isa and Terry’s Veganomicon, with multiple liberties taken ingredient-swapping, veggie-adding and spice tweaking.

Yield: 10 cups

What you need:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced, 1 cup
  • 1 leek, halved and diced, 2 cups
  • 1 cup diced parsnip
  • 1 cup diced carrot
  • 2 tablespoons white wine (optional)
  • 2 oranges, peeled and diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried tarragon
  • 6 or 7 large sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 sprig of fresh sage (5 or 6 fresh sage leaves on the sprig)
  • 2 large sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 6 cups unsalted vegetable broth
  • 2 cups lentils (French green, DuPuy or Beluga work particularly well.  if time permits, soak them overnight or several hours in lots of fresh water and then drain.  otherwise you can work straight from the dry, it’s just longer to cook)
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt (herb salt preferred, use more if desired, salting is one of those intensely personal things)

What you do:

  1. In a soup pot, Dutch oven or Instant Pot, sauté the onion, leek, carrot and parsnip in the oil until the onions and leek begin to brown and stick to the bottom.  Add the garlic, tarragon, thyme, sage and rosemary and cook for a couple more minutes.                        img_0649
  2. Deglaze the pot with the wine, and once that evaporates, with the diced oranges.  If omitting the wine, then go straight to the oranges.  Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the broth, drained lentils, bay leaves and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt.  Bring the soup to a boil and then cover and lower the heat.  Simmer for 20 minutes for soaked lentils or 45 minutes for unsoaked lentils, or until they’re cooked properly: still holding their shape but soft and tender inside.
  4. Add the rest of the salt and let rest 10 minutes or so.  Remove the stems from the rosemary, sage and thyme.  Thin the soup if desired, serving in large bowls with some home-made sourdough and veggie-pâté on the side if you’ve got it.

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