Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Hearty Lentil Soup

Submitted by Emily Daniel

A few of you asked for this recipe when we were talking at book club. I thought it would be best to post it here since it is a winter soup!

Hearty Lentil Soup

3 oz bacon, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1 large onion chopped fine
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped medium
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves (I use 1/2 tsp. dried)
1 C lentils, rinsed and picked over
1 teaspoon salt
Ground black pepper
1/2 C white cooking wine (I reduce this to 1/4 C in my recipe and add another 1/4 C of water. I'm not a huge fan of the white wine taste)
4 1/2 C low-sodium chicken broth (the low-sodium is important. Regular chicken broth gives you too salty a soup)
1 1/2 C water
1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves

1. Fry the bacon in a large stockpot until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crisp. Add the onion and carrots; cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables begin to soften, about 2 minutes. (If your veggies are sticking to the pan, throw in a little canola oil) Add the garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes, bay leaf, and thyme; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the lentils, salt, and pepper to taste; cover, reduce the heat to medium low, and cook until the vegetables are softened and the lentils have darkened, 8 to 10 minutes.

2. Uncover, increase the heat to high, add the wine and bring to a simmer. Add the chicken broth and water; bring to a boil, cover partially, and reduce the heat to low. Simmer until the lentils are tender but still hold their shape, 30 to 35 minutes; discard the bay leaf.

3. Puree 3 cups of the soup in a blender until smooth, then return to the pot. Stir in the vinegar and heat the soup over medium-low until hot, about 5 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons parsley and serve, garnishing each bowl with some of the remaining parsley.

This soup is even more delicious the next day.

*This recipe comes from Cook's Illustrated 'The New Best Recipe'

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