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Tasting Circle: Lentil soup

  • Lentil soup Nina M. Scott



For the Bulletin
Thursday, August 31, 2017

Many people have noticed that the second sentence of Cervantes’ remarkable novel describes Don Quixote’s daily diet, an unusual beginning for a novel of chivalry and high principles.

But diets reflect culture, and this one immediately transmits that he is very, very poor.

For instance, on Fridays he always ate lentils; this hits a nerve, as lentils can be so delicious, especially in lentil soup. Inexpensive and nourishing, it’s perfect for cooler fall days.

Lentils, in all of their many variations, are a legume that has been consumed for over 10,000 years.

They are high in protein and fiber and do not contain the sulfur that sometimes gives beans a bad rap.

The recipe below can be made both in vegetarian and non-vegetarian versions.

2 tbsp olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

3/4 cup finely chopped celery

2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

1/2 lb brown lentils, washed and sorted 

1 large beef (or vegetable) bouillon cube

1/2 tsp thyme

1/2 tsp herbes de Provençe

ground pepper 

5 cups water

1 1/2 cups peeled, chopped carrots

3 chopped, canned plum tomatoes plus 1/2 cup of their juice

1/2 (7 oz) smoked sausage, sliced

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

Maggi seasoning or soy sauce

parsley, chopped

salt 

Heat oil over medium heat; add onion and celery. Sauté until soft; add garlic and cook 2 minutes more. 

Add lentils, bouillon cube, thyme, herbes de Provençe, pepper, and water. Cover, bring to a boil and simmer for about 40 minutes, or until lentils are soft.

Cook carrots separately until done, then add them and their cooking water to the lentils.

Add tomatoes, sausage, vinegar and a few drops of Maggi seasoning; heat 10 minutes more. Adjust seasoning. Sprinkle with chopped parsley when serving.

Better each time you reheat it.