Monday, March 29, 2010

Hearty Lentil Soup

The Menu:
Hearty Lentil Soup

The Original Recipe:
I am proud of myself. I made this recipe "as is" and didn't change a thing. I had a friend make this last year, and I loved it. It tasted soooo good. So, she gave me the recipe, and I fianlly got around to making it. It still tasted just as good as I remember.

Cook's Illustrated Hearty Lentil Soup Recipe

From the Cook's Illustrated website: Lentils du Puy, sometimes called French green lentils, are our first choice for this recipe, but brown, black, or regular green lentils are fine, too. Note that cooking times will vary depending on the type of lentils used. Lentils lose flavor with age, and because most packaged lentils do not have expiration dates, try to buy them from a store that specializes in natural foods and grains. Before use, rinse and then carefully sort through the lentils to remove small stones and pebbles. The soup can be made in advance. After adding the vinegar in step 2, cool the soup to room temperature and refrigerate it in an airtight container for up to 2 days. To serve, heat it over medium-low until hot, then stir in the parsley.

1½ hours
20 min prep

SERVES 4 -6 , 2 quarts

3 slices bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces (about 3 ounces)

1 large onion, chopped fine (about 1 1/2 cups)

2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped medium (about 1 cup)

3 medium garlic cloves, minced (about 1 tablespoon)

1 (14 1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leave

1 cup lentils, rinsed and picked over (7 ounces)

1 teaspoon table salt

ground black pepper

1/2 cup dry white wine

4 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth

1 1/2 cups water

1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves

Fry bacon in large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until fat is rendered and bacon is crisp, 3 to 4 minutes.

Add onion and carrots; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to soften, about 2 minutes.

Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Stir in tomatoes, bay leaf, and thyme; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Stir in lentils, salt, and pepper to taste; cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until vegetables are softened and lentils have darkened, 8 to 10 minutes.

Uncover, increase heat to high, add wine, and bring to simmer.

Add chicken broth and water; bring to boil, cover partially, and reduce heat to low.

Simmer until lentils are tender but still hold their shape, 30 to 35 minutes; discard bay leaf.

Puree 3 cups soup in blender until smooth, then return to pot; stir in vinegar and heat soup over medium-low until hot, about 5 minutes.

Stir in 2 tablespoons parsley and serve, garnishing each bowl with some of remaining parsley.

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