I once went on a blind date with a man who confessed he didn’t know what lentils were. I was perfectly ready for him to say he didn’t like them, but that he didn’t know what they were?
From that hapless remark, I knew that our first date would be our last.
It’s not that I love lentils so very much (although I like them a great deal). It’s just that they’ve been a part of my diet since I can remember. And they are so easy to make!
To begin, brown an onion and 4 small cloves of garlic in about a tablespoon of olive oil.
While that’s cooking, peel four carrots and chop them in rounds.
And then measure two cups of lentils, which you will want to wash.
Put the lentils in a bowl (I like this one because it’s made of plastic and somewhat flexible – easy to grip). Pour water in the bowl, swirl your hand around in it to wash the lentils, then slowly pour the water out. If any lentils float to the surface and pour out, they are better off not in your soup anyway. Repeat the rinsing process.
By now the onions should be browned, so you put the lentils, carrots, 8 cups of water, a vegetable bouillon cube, and 1-2 teaspoons of large grain sea salt (less if you’re using regular salt). Perhaps start with one teaspoon and see if you need more. I like my soups a little on the salty side.
You also need to add 2 bay leaves. I never used to think they mattered very much in recipes, but ever since I’ve started pulling them fresh off the bay laurel bush in my yard, I’ve changed my mind. They are very fragrant. Add the two leaves plus 1/2 teaspoon of basil. Bring this to a boil and then turn down the heat and simmer for at least one hour.
I like my soups puréed. I find them to be prettier (although it’s difficult to take pretty pictures of lentil soup), and I find that the tastes blend nicely when it has been puréed together.
It’s important that you remove the bay leaves before you purée the soup. They do not soften at all during cooking, and you will have sharp little chunks of leaves in your soup.
When serving lentil soup, why not make homemade bread? (I have a gluten-free mix that is currently in the oven).
Or, you can microwave some hotdogs and cut them into rounds and put them in the lentil soup. The French often do that and it’s a great favourite with the kids.
And there you have your warming meal ready for dinner.
The perfect dish to brighten the heart on a gloomy, rainy November day.
(In case the flowers are not doing the trick)
- 2 cups lentils
- 8 cups water
- 4 carrots
- 1 onion
- 4 small cloves garlic
- 1 T olive oil
- 2 t large grain sea salt
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 bouillon cube (vegetable)
- ½ t basil
- Brown the onions and garlic in olive oil.
- Peel and cut the carrots in rounds.
- Wash the lentils.
- Put all the ingredients in the pot and bring to a boil.
- Simmer uncovered for an hour.
- Purée and serve hot.