If you do not have a bag of dried lentils in your larder at all times, you’ve got some explaining to do. These little cuties are about $.80 a pound, keep for a year, are full of good stuff for you and don’t need to be pre-soaked. They are fast, convenient, filling and ever so tasty. How could you not?
Lentil Soup has got to be the best comfort food ever. It is rich and hearty and slurpy and — this version at least – just a bit spicy. You can use whatever scraps you’ve got around. You can give it a Middle Eastern flavor or Italian flair by varying the spices. Use a different type of sausage – like kielbasa – and some sage or rosemary for a more Eastern European style. Use no sausage at all and a dash of liquid aminos or veggie steak sauce and some red hot pepper flakes or chipotle for a vegetarian/vegan version. It will keep in the fridge for several days and packs up really nicely for an office lunch that will make you feel loved and valued.
This is a slightly modified version of a previous lentil soup recipe…I make this all the time and I vary it to my mood. This time I included celery and just added a teaspoon of oregano; the vegetable stock I used (Nature’s Promise Organic, from Stop and Shop) really punched up the flavor so much that it didn’t need much added seasoning.
Lentil Soup (Sopa de lentejas)
2-3 Tbs olive oil
1 baseball size onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced or diced to fingernail size (approx 1 Cup)
2 stalks celery, chopped
(1/2 cup chard stems, chopped – optional – I just happened to have some left over from a previous chard leaf dish)
3-4 oz chorizo (Spanish dry hot sausage), peeled and sliced into 1/4-1/2 inch rounds (I use Palacios Hot; vegetarians can omit it entirely and add liquid aminos, steak sauce or snoky chipotle to taste)
1 medium potato, peeled (if you like) and chopped into 1.2 inch cubes (approx. 1 Cup)
1 Cup (8 oz) dry lentils, rinsed, picked through and drained
4 – 8 Cups chicken or vegetable broth (you may use water as well)
15 oz can diced tomatoes (optional)
1 tsp each – ground cumin, turmeric and oregano OR 1 tsp each – oregano and marjoram OR Tbs dry Italian herbs
Heat oil until it runs quickly and is fragrant. Add onions and stir to coat. After a minute, reduce heat to low. After five minutes start adding, garlic, then carrots, celery and optional chard, then chorizo. When chorizo begins to release its color, stir in lentils, potatoes, broth/water and tomatoes, if using. Bring to boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered for 20 minutes or until lentils and vegetables are tender, adding water a cup at a time, if desired. Add spices at the end and salt to taste.
Serve as soup with crusty bread, or over rice. Finish with a dollop of plain yogurt, sour cream or creme fraiche!