Monday, February 22, 2016

Sylvia's Lentil Soup

The first time I encountered lentil soup it was one of the most disgusting things I had ever seen.  I was about ten years old and we walked into my parents' friends' house and there was a huge pot of it simmering away on the stove.  When I looked into the pot I saw a thick brown sludge that looked like what I imagined porridge would look like, based on my child's imagination.  It did not smell much better if I remember correctly.

Given my initial reaction to it I can't imagine what could have made me actually taste it, although I suspect some form of parental threat was involved.  And imagine my surprise when I found it so delicious that not only did I have no trouble whatsoever finishing the serving I had been given, I even found myself asking for more.

I owe my friend's mother a big thank you for that, as it opened my mind to all kinds of beans and lentils throughout my life and therefore served as my entree to a whole new world of delicious flavors.

At some point I got the recipe from her, but over the years I found myself cooking with less and less meat and I never seemed to have a soup bone just hanging around my kitchen.  I would stumble across it every once in a while when going through my recipes and consider making it, until I realized that I did not have a soup bone and in all honesty wasn't even sure how to get one.  So back in the box it went.

And then I decided to make a stew from a bone-in chuck roast I had bought on sale.  As I was cutting the meat away from the bone I started thinking about what I could do it.  And I am very glad that the recipe for that delicious lentil soup popped into my head.  It took only a second for me to decide to make it.

And it was just as good as I remembered it being (I was a little afraid that it would not live up to the memory).  The low, slow cooking brought all of the flavors together and the lentils were soft and flavorful.  The thyme adds an additional layer to the already earthy flavor of the beans and the meat rounds out the flavors perfectly.
In spite of the lengthy cook time, the soup itself can be thrown together quickly so it is the perfect thing to make on a cold winter weekend day when you don't have to be anywhere but don't want to be tied up in the kitchen.  

While I will continue to mostly cook and eat my lentils without meat, every once in a while this version is the perfect thing to eat on a cold winter's day.  
Home Cookin Chapter: Beans and Vegetables


Servings: 8-10

1 lb lentils
2 Tbsp butter
2 medium onions
2 carrots, sliced into thin rounds
1 cup sliced celery
2 bay leaves
3 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dried thyme or a few sprigs of fresh
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 quarts water
1 medium potato, grated
soup bone

Soak lentils in water for 3 hours or overnight.

In large soup kettle saute onions and carrots until onions are golden. Add lentils and the rest of the ingredients. Simmer until lentils are tender and soup has thickened.

exported from Home Cookin v.8.66 (

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