Spring is officially here, the cherry blossoms around the neighborhood are actually already blown away by rain and wind this past weekend. My tulips and daffodils are on their way to harvest time before they wilt. And at home, I've been doing lots of spring cleaning and finding bits and pieces of things to cook with in my cupboard.
I found bags of leftover lentils here and there to add up to 2 cups (dry) so I thought I'd make this Autumn/Winter staple one last time. As with any soup, this one gets better the day after. You can make the soup heartier by adding more vegetables (turnip and potato are regular addition here) Finally, you can make this soup all vegetarian if you like, just omit the bacon (which ain't gonna happen chez moi).
French Lentil SoupMakes about 6-8 servings
4 slices of bacon or plain olive oil
2 cups of dry green/French lentil (lentilles du puy), rinsed and drained
2-3 medium carrot, diced
2-3 stalks celery, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 14.5 oz can diced tomato
1 bay leaf
1 medium size turnip and/or 2 small yukon gold potato, diced (optional)
water about a quart or more (you can also use chicken/vegetable broth, we use "Better than Bouillon")
salt, pepper, sugar and balsamic vinegar to taste
chopped parsley to serve
Slice the bacon however you like, render them nice and crisp over medium low heat, set bacon aside and reserve about a tablespoon of the oil. Otherwise, heat olive oil in medium high heat.
Saute vegetables (carrots, celery, onion, garlic) about 10 minutes, or until they begin to brown a bit. Next, add lentil, tomato, bay leaf and enough water/broth to cover the whole thing plus an inch above the surface. This is also the time to add turnip or potato if you use them. Simmer the pot for about 30 minutes or so until lentil and vegetables are tender.
Add your seasonings. Usually a touch of sugar and balsamic vinegar will round up the taste. I also blend part of the soup to make it thicker using immersion blender, but you don't have to. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and bacon. Serve warm with lots of crusty bread, it definitely hits the spot on those rainy Spring evenings at home.