Sunday, January 28, 2007

Lentil Soup

The full recipe makes enough for 4 good sized servings (2+ cups each), plus 3+ more servings for the freezer. Your yield will depend on how much soup you need for a meal. For those without freezer space I put the amounts for a half portion in parentheses.

This recipe is lifted liberally from the Cook’s Illustrated version found in their January 2004 issue.

Lentil Soup

  • 6 (3) slices bacon, cut into smallish pieces (easiest if you use a pair of kitchen scissors to do this

  • 2 (1) large onions , chopped small

  • 4 (2) carrots , peeled and chopped medium

  • 6 (3) cloves garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press

  • 2 (1) cans (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes , drained (I have also used one 28 oz. can of whole tomatoes, drained and chopped)

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 2 (1) teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves (or a healthy pinch of dried thyme)

  • 2 (1) cups lentilles duy Puy (rinse them and make sure there are no stones or other inedible bits) – see below for more on this kind of lentil

  • 2 (1) teaspoons table salt

  • ground black pepper to taste

  • 1 (1/2) cup dry white wine

  • 8 (4) cups low-sodium chicken broth (one brick pack of broth = 4 cups)

  • 4 (2) cups water

  • 3 (1 ½) teaspoons balsamic vinegar

  • handful of parsley leaves, chopped fine

Fry bacon in large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until fat is rendered and bacon is crisp, 5ish minutes. Add onion and carrots; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to soften, about another 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook another minute. Stir in tomatoes, bay leaf, and thyme; cook 1 minute.

Stir in lentils, salt, and pepper to taste; cover (this is important to do), reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until vegetables are softened and lentils have darkened, 8 to 10 minutes.

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

Use an immersion blender or potato masher to mash up the soup a little. You want it to get a little creamy. (the original told you to "puree 3 cups soup in blender until smooth, then return to pot" if you only have a blender and want the creamier texture, you should do this step. If you don't mind a brothy soup, don't worry about it). Stir in vinegar and heat soup over medium-low until hot, about 5 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons parsley and serve, garnishing each bowl with some of remaining parsley.

Lentilles du Puy are small French lentils. You can get them in some supermarkets, Whole Foods, Trader Joe's and another speciality food stores. Get them, they are worth it. You can also find them at

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