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Scrumptious Lentil Soup

Scrumptious Lentil Soup


Lentil soup is a filling, healthy, and delicious treat for cold winter evenings. There are many variations of the basic lentil soup recipe.  You can alter and add ingredients to this recipe as you choose. If you desire more spices, try adding a little cayenne pepper to give the soup a kick.  Cumin, coriander, and cinnamon are also nice additions to your hearty lentil soup.

Scrumptious Lentil Soup
2-3 oz bacon or prosciutto, diced (optional)
1 large onion, diced
3 medium carrots, peeled and diced
2 medium celery stocks, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups water
1 cup lentils, picked over and rinsed
14.5 oz canned tomatoes (one can), drained
1 teaspoon dried or fresh thyme
1.5 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon salt (more if leaving out meat)
ground pepper

1. Heat bacon in large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, about 3 minutes.  (If you are not using meat, heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in your pot instead.)
2. Add onion, carrots, celery, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and tender, but not browned, about 3 minutes.
3. Stir in tomatoes and thyme; cook for approximately 30 seconds, until fragrant.
4. Add water and lentils, increase heat to high and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until the lentils are tender, about 30-40 minutes.
5. (Optional) For a smoother soup remove 3 cups of lentils and blend until smooth; return to pot.
6. Stir in vinegar, salt, and pepper to taste; heat over medium-low heat another 3-5 minutes.


For a vegetarian lentil soup, leave out the bacon or prociutto.  Instead heat a bit of olive oil in the soup pot before adding carrots and celery in Step 2.

Variation

You can make a more flavorful soup by replacing some of the water with chicken broth and white wine.

For soup with wine and broth, change liquid proportions to:
.5 cup dry white wine
4 cups chicken broth
1.5 cups water

Steps 1-3: Same as basic lentil soup.
Step 4: Increase heat to high, add wine and bring to a simmer. Add chicken broth, water, and lentils.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until lentils are tender, about 30-40 minutes.
Step 5-6: Same as basic lentil soup.

Lentil Soup with Greens

Another variation on this lentil soup recipe is the addition of greens. Greens will add more substance and flavor to your soup. You can also add greens to the wine and broth variation of the basic lentil soup. All ingredients remain the same; simply add 5-10 ounces of chopped fresh greens like spinach or kale.

Steps 1-6 are the same as basic lentil soup recipe.
Step 7: Add greens to finished soup; cook stirring occasionally about 3 minutes, until greens are wilted and tender.

Comments
Lentil soup refrigerates well. If you choose to add greens, only add greens to the part of the soup you plan to eat immediately.  The greens taste the best when they are fresh.

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