I can't cook. Given, nothing I make is going to kill anyone or make them feel sick or anything, I just don't have the knack for cooking that I do for baking. I can make the staples and can usually make a recipe without any real disasters happening, but it's just not something I'm great at yet. That being said, I really love the idea of making a soup every Sunday so that you have lunches already prepared for the week. Yesterday, I was craving lentil soup so I decided to whip some up. My mom makes it all the time but I had never actually given it a go myself.
I was pleasantly surprised-- it wasn't that hard to make and it turned out deliciously. The absolute perfect soup for a cold day. It's hearty, flavorful and just really, really good. Scroll down for the recipe and get cookin'!
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium-large onions, chopped fine
3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped medium
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves (or 1/2 teaspoon dried if you can't get fresh)
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained and liquid saved
1 cup lentils (French green works best but you can also use brown), rinsed and picked through
1 teaspoon salt
Ground black pepper
3/4 cup white wine
4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1. Heat the oil in a large stockpot on medium heat until it shimmers. Add onions until slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Next, add carrots, bay leaf, thyme, and drained tomatoes and continue cooking on medium heat until the vegetables soften (about 2 minutes). I like to wait to throw the garlic in until the vegetables are soft to make sure it doesn't burn.
2. Add the lentils, salt, and pepper and lower heat to medium low. Cover and cook until the vegetables are softened and the lentils have darkened, about 10 minutes.
3. Uncover your pot, increase the heat to high, adding the wine and simmering for 1 minute. Next, add the chicken stock, juice from the tomatoes and water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and cover. Continue to simmer until the lentils are cooked, about 45 minutes. Take out the bay leaf.
4. Take about 3 cups of the soup and puree in a blender. Add the pureed soup back into the pot, mixing in with the rest of the soup. Finally, stir in the balsamic vinegar and let sit. Makes about 4-6 servings. I sprinkled with fresh herbs from the garden before serving (Thyme works best).