This soup recipe has been our family’s favorite for years. Both my kids were pretty much raised on this soup…literally. I make it every few weeks and have been since they were babies. I think it may have been one of their first “table foods”. And you know what never gets old?? Watching your kids gulp down bowl after bowl of lentils. Seriously, what could possibly be more satisfying? Without fail, it’s the one dinner I make where I never have to worry that no one will eat, or someone won’t like it. This one is a winner. Every time.
I always knew that lentils were really good for you, but never realized how good. Did you know that lentils are rich in potassium, calcium, zinc, and vitamin K? And, it they are an especially good source of fiber, protein, folate and iron? Pretty impressive for the humble lentil.
I will warn you…the chopping takes a while. But trust me, it’s worth it! I usually crank the music and settle to the task at hand. Once you get over the 4 cups of diced onions (yup..4 cups), it’s smooth sailing from there 🙂 This recipe makes a ton, so it’s perfect for a week day dinner with plenty of leftovers for lunches and probably a few dinners too! It’s also pretty versatile. I’ve used kielbasa, sausage, or ham before, or left out meat entirely and the result is always delicious. Vegetarian? Vegetable stock is easily subbed for the chicken stock with no loss of flavor. If you don’t have fresh thyme, dried works fine. Just remember to reduce to 1 teaspoon. The red wine vinegar may sound strange, but it brightens up the flavor of the lentils and is pretty much manditory, in my opinion. Red wine also works if you don’t have the vinegar. I’m sure this will become one of your family’s favorites! Enjoy!
- ¾ lb green lentils
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 4 cups diced onions
- 2 cups chopped leaks
- 1 tbs minced garlic
- 1 tbs kosher salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tbs fresh thyme leaves, chopped
- 1 tsp cumin
- 3 cups diced celery
- 3 cups diced carrots
- 3 quarts chicken stock
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 1 lb ham or kielbasa (optional) cut into bite sized pieces
- 2 tbs red wine vinegar (or red wine)
- Place lentils in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Let stand 15 minutes. Drain.
- In a big pot, heal olive oil and saute onions, celery, carrots, leeks, garlic, thyme, cumin, salt, and pepper until vegetables are soft. About 15 minutes.
- Add cooked meat, if using.
- Add tomato paste, lentils and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour or until the lentils are soft and cooked through.
- Turn off heal, stir in red wine vinegar.