Recipe by Jess March
This is part of my "make after work" soup collection that I reserve for rainy and/or miserable days. It is rich, tasty, and so soothing! You need about an hour to make it (less if you are fast) and an hour to let it sit on the stove. This is an Italian style lentil soup.
Top Review by Ms*Bindy
This is a great recipe. One of the things I like so much about it is that it can be very versatile. I didn't feel compelled to follow 'exactly' For example, I really like mushrooms, so I used extra mushrooms, but skipped the optionsl sausage. And the instructions were so engaging....thanks for making this recipe both fun to make and good to eat.
- 1 1⁄4 cups lentils (green or brown)
- 2 small carrots or 2 medium carrots, diced
- 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
- 3 stalks celery, diced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, pressed
- 3 cups vegetable stock (try using the Italian one with basil, rosemary and thyme)
- 1⁄4 cup tiny pasta (optional)
- 1 cup Italian sausage, diced (real or fake sausage, optional for a heartier soup)
- 2 -3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (or red wine vinegar or red wine itself)
- 2 -3 tablespoons butter
- fresh basil (to garnish) (optional)
- parmesan cheese (to garnish) (optional)
Directions See How It's Made
- Identify a miserable rainy day (often a Monday), decide to make soup and then leave office at 5pm if at all humanly possible.
- Go to the store and buy the stuff unless you are so incredible that you shopped in advance for this meal.
- Upon arriving home, go straight to kitchen and begin preparations. Do not change, check the news, read mail, empty dishwasher, etc. This soup needs to get on the stove pronto so it has time to stew and simmer. You can do all those other things later during the simmer stage (see step 11). If your man/dinner guest(s) arrive late, even more time for the soup to absorb all the yummy flavors.
- Hopefully you have a mini-food chopper/processor as this will help tremendously (save slow chopping for the weekend). If not, you should really invest in one! Cheap and very useful. Anyhow, chop the onion into large chunks and then process it so that the pieces are pretty small. Throw this into a large sauce/soup pot with a chunk of butter (real or fake) and let it sautee for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, put the lentils into a smaller pot and cover with cold water. Heat it on the stove on high and let it boil for 10 minutes. Drain and put aside.
- While lentils are cooking, add 2 cloves of pressed garlic (or chopped if you lack a press) to the onions so that they have a minute to cook.
- Start your chopping: carrots, mushrooms, and celery. Carrots especially need to be chopped very small so that they’ll cook faster. Turn the heat off of the onions if they finish before your chopping is done.
- When lentils are done, use the same pot and cook the baby pasta, if using, and put aside.
- Once chopping is done, throw those veggies in with the onions. Also, add tomato paste, vegetable stock, lentils, and sausage, if using.
- Cover the soup and let it simmer for about an hour. Check it periodically to see that the vegetables become tender and that it doesn’t overboil. Add salt and pepper as you like it.
- Now you can change clothes, open mail, light candles, etc.
- When it’s close to serving time you can add the vinegar/wine. Do this slowly and taste to see how much you like. Gives it a nice kick.
- When the soup is ready or your dining guest(s) cannot wait anymore, serve it into bowls, mixing in a tiny bit of baby pasta and topping with chopped basil and grated parmesan. You can leave the parmesan at the table if one of your diners is a cheese addict. NOTE: The pasta is always added into the serving bowls, not the soup itself because I find it otherwise soaks up too much of the broth.
- It’s best served with a hot bread of your choice. A salad is probably not necessary since this heavy soup is very filling.
- Bask in the praise of your culinary skills.
- NOTE: If refrigerating leftover soup, keep the cooked pasta separate or it will soak up all the broth.