I am embarassed to say that like beer, coupons, and gardening, lentils are something I had avoided until a few years ago. I have been missing out. I was interested to learn that lentils have the most protein of any bean, next to soy. I fed them a lot to my son when he was a baby for that reason. I’ve heard great things about this soup from my friend, Brandi, who makes it often.
- 1 pound French green lentils
- 4 cups chopped yellow onions (3 large onions)
- 4 cups chopped leeks, white part only (2 leeks)
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
- 1/4 cup good olive oil, plus additional for drizzling on top
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 3 cups medium-diced celery (8 stalks)
- 3 cups medium-diced carrots (4 to 6 carrots)
- 3 quarts chicken stock
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons red wine or red wine vinegar
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
In a large bowl, cover the 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 1 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.