Monday, January 16, 2012

Recipe 32: Rosemary Lentil Soup

I had been craving a big bowl of simple lentil soup for a few weeks before I finally got around to purchasing the most important ingredient: lentils.  But clearly I did, or I wouldn't be posting this, eh? This recipe was initially not what I signed on for; I did not anticipate there would be as much tomato.  As I was craving straight up lentil, I got a little fussy in the cooking, convinced the tomato would be completely overpowering.  And I was right, until I bumped up the spices and it didn't matter as much.  As I found, it's definitely a soup that gets richer as it sits longer.  Plus, you can hardly go wrong when there is bacon involved.  I determine this to not have been the lentil soup of my wildest peasant soup craving hopes and dreams, but darn good nonetheless.

These tomatoes are mocking me with their wholeness.
And also kind of look like eyeballs.
The recipe comes from The Soup Bible, which is great except for the directional to use a 14 oz. can of plum tomatoes.  Well, fine...but what are we talking here?  Whole tomatoes?  Diced?  Ground?  I went for whole, but then couldn't find a 14 oz. can, and had to use half a 28 oz. one.  To boot, as you can see, I found the whole tomatoes to be...ridiculous. While they may have broken apart in the cooking, I didn't want to count on it, so I hauled them out and showed them the sharp end of the knife.  Additionally, as with any dried beans you use, make sure to sort them and pull out any nasty clumps of rock, dirt, or frankenbeans.  As per, serve it with crusty bread and some sharp cheese or a salad on the side.  This soup is also quite good with your favorite red wine (I guess those tomatoes were good for something after all!).

Rosemary Lentil Soup
Adapted from Debra Mayhew's The Soup Bible
(Serves 4-6)
Guess who forgot to take a picture of the final product?  Oops. 
Click on for the recipe, chef:


1 cup brown lentils
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 slices of bacon, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 Tbsp fresh rosemary, minced (approximately three stalks)
1 stalk fresh rosemary
2 bay leaves
14 oz diced plum tomatoes (or diced tomatoes)
7 c vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste


1.  Sort lentils and soak in a bowl for about two hours.  Rinse and drain them well.
2.  In a large Le Creuset, heat the oil over medium-high.  Add your diced bacon and cook for about 3 minutes until it starts to brown.
3.  Stir in the onion and cook for 5 minutes or until soft.
4.  Stir in celery, carrots, rosemary, bay leaves, and lentils and stir until fully incorporated.
5.  Stir in tomatoes and stock.  Bring the pot to a boil, add the extra rosemary stalk, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer for about one hour with the pot half covered, stirring occasionally.  When the lentils are tender and the liquid has reduced a bit, season with salt and pepper to taste.  Remove the bay leaves and rosemary stalk, and serve hot with crusty bread.  Yum!

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