My sister’s cookbook 1 Stock, 100 Soups (written by Linda Doeser) has a lot of interesting and different soups in it. This is not 100 variations of Chicken Noodle soup – though it is hard to top a good chicken noodle soup. When deciding which recipes to try first, I was drawn to the kinds of soups I’d never had before. That still didn’t stop me from changing the recipe when I wanted to. The following is my version of a red lentil soup.
Before you see this recipe, you should know that the original version of this soup called for 8 oz. of salt pork. While I’m sure that version is yummy, I just could not face adding that much fat to a soup. I do agree though that most legume soups are tastier if cooked with a little meat. I’m sure you could use lots of different substitutes for the salt pork, but I went with .42 of a pound lamb patty (seasoned ground lamb) because my Dad just loves lamb.
Red Lentil Soup
8 oz of meat of your choice (original recipe calls for salt pork – I used a 6 oz lamb patty and broke it into small pieces)
2 tbsp olive oil (used spray can of olive oil and really reduced the amount)
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
4 potatoes, diced (I didn’t bother to peel them since most of the nutrients are in the skins)
2 ¼ cups red lentils
12 cups chicken broth (again, use your favorite broth)
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon curry powder (to add flavor – especially since I eliminated a lot of the fat, I added several different spices to this not in the original recipe)
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp fresh, chopped, flat leaf parsley
1 fresh rosemary spring (large)
salt and pepper
Eat oil in pan over medium heat. Brown the onions 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and brown an additional minute. Add meat and brown 3-5 minutes. Add potatoes and brown 3-5 minutes. Add red lentils and brown 3-5 minutes. Stir constantly because the red lentils clump easily.
Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Add all the additional spices. Cover and simmer for 1.5 – 2 hours, until the lentils are very soft. The lentils and potatoes will absorb some of the broth the longer this soup sits around.
You may want to serve this with crusty bread to soak up some of the delicious and thickened broth.
What are your favorite kinds of soups? Are you a chicken noodle soup purist?