Today is Thanksgiving, and I am thankful for my family. Today, I am particularly thankful for my little sister (and my Turkey Day running partner), Karrah. She is awesome. She does things just because they’re a challenge for her. She has endless determination when she puts her mind to something. And she has the strongest work ethic of pretty much anyone I know. She is, however, also a freshman in college, which means that she’s just figuring out how to configure portable foods and schedule cooking meals into her busy schedule. She flattered me when she asked me for my recipe for lentil soup, so here it is. For her.
(And of course she would want the recipe for the least photogenic food I make. . .)
We did not growing up eating lentils. Ever. Our dad hates them and thus they were never, ever served in our house. I seriously never tried a single lentil until I was 21. So with this in mind, I realize that I probably make lentil soup completely wrong. But it tastes oh-so-right. As long as you like a balance of bright and earthy flavors. And if you don’t like the taste of chicken stock, this soup is definitely for you (though I suppose you could use chicken stock if you really wanted).
- 1 cup lentils
- 4-6 cups water
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 medium sweet onion, finely chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 2-3 large carrots, chopped
- 2-4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- ground red pepper
Heat the olive oil in a pot. Add the onion and garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes, until onions just begin to turn translucent. Add the carrots and celery and saute for a further 2-3 minutes. Add 4 cups water and bring to a boil.
Meanwhile, thoroughly rinse and pick over lentils. (When you rinse the lentils, continue rinsing until water becomes clear). Add the lentils to the boiling water and allow to cook for 20-30 minutes, until the lentils are soft. This may take longer, depending on the variety of lentil you use. I use red lentils, which tend to lose their shape more than other varieties, but I like that about them. They also seem a bit milder in flavor to me.
Add the vinegar a couple of tablespoons at a time, testing to see how the flavor shapes up. A little bit goes a long way in brightening the flavor. Add the crushed/ground red pepper to taste. I tend to like mine with just a little bit of noticeable kick to it.
It can be eaten like this, but my favorite way to eat it is with a poached egg. There’s something about popping open the yolk and letting the creamy flavor get mixed around with the bright and earthy flavor of the lentils that is just so fantastically satisfying. And the extra protein certainly doesn’t hurt.