Saturday, February 28, 2009

Vegetarian Lentil Soup

I recently reconnected with my friend Karen from high school on Facebook. Apparently she enjoys trying new recipes as much as I do, plus she has three little kids with different food preferences, so the more recipes they all like the better! Here's a recipe she posted, from Elaine on BBC.

I was a bit skeptical; I've tried cooking with lentils in the past and they never seemed to turn out right. (I think it was my technique; lentils need longer cooking over lower heat.) Plus the ingredients in this list didn't seem particularly flavorful (flavor in = flavor out). But, fortunately, I finally decided to give it a try, and boy was I glad. The flavors from the cloves and the bay leaves morph with everything else into a super tasty, satisfying stew.

Vegetarian Lentil Stew

  • 4 T oil
  • 1 c finely diced celery
  • 1 c finely diced carrots
  • 1/3 cup chopped onions
  • 2 cups lentils, washed
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 15 oz can stewed tomatoes
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 small bay leaf
In a conventional soup pot, sauté the vegetables in oil until soft and translucent. Add lentils with remaining ingredients and cook over low heat for approximately 2 hours. Serves 8-10

Comments & Modifications:
  • There are lots of different kinds of lentils out there, but the regular cheap green ones were fine.
  • Only 1/3 cup of onion? Hah. I added a full cup and it was great. Plus, that used up exactly half of the massive onion I got from Produce Junction.
  • I added a bit more than a cup each of chopped carrots and celery, and next time I think I'd add more, maybe 1 1/2 to 2 cups. They kind of get drowned in lentils.
  • Similarly, I'd probably double the amount of stewed tomatoes. Which I did cut into smaller pieces, but next time I'd do that before adding them to the soup instead of after, to reduce fishing-around time.
  • Some chopped zucchini might work well with this. More veggies are always good.
  • I added only 1 1/2 tsp of salt, but it could have used the full two teaspoons. Karen said that the ratio of sugar to salt was more important than the absolute quantity of each, so I probably won't mess around with that too much in the future.
  • My stove is apparently very weak on low, so the stew turned out underdone. Apparently Karen's stove puts this at a light simmer on low, so I'll adjust the heat next time. Even with undercooked lentils it was still enjoyable!
I will definitely be making this again in the future! Tasty, cheap, and healthy! What more could I ask for?

1 comment:

Keeper of the Zoo said...

I just found this through a link on Kimberly's blog. I didn't know you had this, but I will be reading regularly, I think :-)