This year San Diego experienced an unusually cold and rainy winter – for the last couple of days the weather seems to have finally turned around and become “more typical San Diegan” again. The cold winter period gave us, however, a very good excuse but also a lot of motivation to try out different new soup recipes over the last few months. We always try to cook vegetarian dishes at home on a frequent basis as we like to go out for dinners often which tend to be non-vegetarian most of the time. Since we had some green lentils at home we decided to prepare a French Lentil Soup. In general, we prefer our soups not to be too brothy and like them to have more body by using larger amounts of vegetables than called for in most recipes, and also by pureeing part of the soup at the end of the cooking. If you like yours less thick just skip the pureeing step.
This French Lentil soup had a nice earthy flavor from the lentils which were accentuated by the addition of lemon juice and Sherry vinegar.
Tie thyme, bay leaf and caraway seeds in cheesecloth
Heat oil in pot over medium-high heat and cook onions and garlic for about 5 minutes and until onions start to soften. Add carrots, leeks and celery and cook for additional 6-7 minutes until vegetables are softened.
Add the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes with stirring. Add vegetable broth, green lentils, white wine, sherry wine vinegar, lemon juice and sachet and bring to simmer. Cook for about 40 minutes until lentils are tender.
Remove sachet and puree half of soup in a blender. Season with salt and white pepper to taste.
Recipe adapted from “The CIA Book of Soups”
2 tbsp oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, minced
3 carrots, finely diced
2 leeks, finely diced
3 celery stalks, finely diced
1 tbsp tomato paste
7 cups vegetable broth
300 g (12 oz) green lentils
¼ cup white wine
2 tbsp sherry wine vinegar
juice of half a lemon
Sachet: 2 sprigs fresh thyme, 1bay leaf, ¼ tsp caraway seeds tied in a cheesecloth