lentil soup

So as we know, I cheated last week and posted a recipe that I make at minimum once per week, and have for months. Not exactly new in 2012.

For Week 4, though, I jumped back up on the wagon. This started from another 101 Cookbooks recipe, but I adapted it a little more loosely because I doubted the original recipe would be flavorful enough.

It was meh on Sunday day, good on Monday and fantastic on Thursday. I’m pretty sure some extra cooking time would have made Sunday better, but it’s a great recipe to make ahead for weekday lunches or dinners.

It’s also a great little black dress recipe, one you can dress up or down and take to all corners of the globe. I added one spice (smoked paprika! yes, still evangelizing for it) to Heidi’s original recipe, but it could go a little Indian with curry powder or garam masala and some diced potatoes, or vaguely Mexican with cumin and a jalapeño. I served it one night with a poached egg (see “Extra-Special Bonus Step”), one night with a dab of Greek yogurt and one night with crumbled feta (which was fantastic). I’m pretty sure this is one you can’t ruin with too much creativity.

Back-On-The-Wagon Lentil Soup

Adapted from “Lively Up Yourself Lentil Soup” from 101 Cookbooks. Serves 2-3.

1 cup French lentils, picked over and rinsed well
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 c. chicken broth (or vegetable broth, if you want to keep the soup veggie)
1 1/2 c. chopped kale (or swiss card or another leafy green), no stems
1 teaspoon smoked paprika

Boil the lentils in 3 cups of water with the bay leaf for half an hour or until tender.

In a soup pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots and celery, and cook until the vegetables are soften but before the onions begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another 2 minutes.

Stir in the tomatoes, lentils and chicken broth. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until the flavors have mingled. Stir in the smoked paprika and kale, and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes.

EXTRA SPECIAL BONUS STEP: In a small saucepan, heat one serving of soup with a little extra water or chicken broth, until simmering. Crack an egg on top of the soup. Cover and let sit for 4 minutes, or until egg is poached. Serve.

I served with these sweet potatoes from Smitten Kitchen (minus the fennel seeds, as I didn’t have any — Penzey’s time!). Sweet potatoes have been a pretty constant feature of my 2012 meals.