I should note first that I'm not a huge fan of vegetable soups or most lentil dishes, but when Ina writes up a recipe that uses these ingredients, well, I trust her, so I tried it. Then, there's Asher who is not as loyal to the Contessa as I am. I packed this soup in his lunch not even hoping he'd eat it because we were out of anything else to send him off with. He came home and said, "MOM, I ate all of my carrot and bean soup. Can I have some more now?"
With that in mind: Run, don't walk to make this soup! (And, if you have a bowl with these muffins for lunch, you'll be a happy camper.)
Lentil Vegetable Soup
Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
Serves 8 to 10 I halved this recipe and felt like it made plenty!
1 pound French green lentils I used regular brown ones
4 c chopped yellow onions (3 large onions)
4 c chopped leeks, white parts only (2 leeks)
1 T minced garlic (3 cloves)
1/4 c good olive oil
1 T kosher salt
1 1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
1 T minced fresh thyme leaves or 1 t dried
1 t cumin
3 c medium-diced celery (8 stalks)
3 c medium-diced carrots (4 to 6)
3 quarts chicken stock
1/4 c tomato paste
2 T red wine or red wine vinegar I thought this was delicious already and left this out
freshly grated Parmesan cheese I never leave out cheese when a soup calls for it, but again, I just didn't feel like it was necessary
In a large bowl, cover lentils with boiling water and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Drain.
In a large stockpot on medium heat, saute the onions, leeks, and garlic with the olive oil, salt, pepper, thyme, and cumin for 20 minutes, until the vegetables are translucent and very tender.
Add the celery and carrots and saute for 10 more minutes.
Add the chicken stock, tomato paste, and lentils. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for one hour, until the lentils are cooked through. Check the seasonings.
Add the red wine and serve hot, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with grated Parmesan cheese. I skipped this last part.