As we mentioned the other day, with our colds we are having a lot of soup. It’s easy to eat, warming, not too filling, and even a bit soothing on the throat. We’re sure that soup was invented just to feed people with colds. Naturally, we scratch up our soups (the last time we had a can of soup was several years ago, again when one of us was sick, and it wasn’t that good), and, while it might seem like too much trouble to make up soup, it’s not. It takes us about 5 minutes of chopping vegetables, a few minutes of sautéing, a few minutes to bring the soup to a boil, and then we let it simmer for about an hour. Done.
This recipe is one we made up to model a lentil soup at our favorite Italian restaurant, Caffe Milano, where the lentil soup has a few carrots, a few potato pieces, and a bit of greens. We will say that it’s not quite the same, but it’s still good enough that we ate a whole batch for lunch.
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- 1/4 finely diced onion
- 2 small potatoes, diced
- 2 carrots, sliced
- 2 leaves of green, shredded
- 3/4 cup lentils
- 4 cups light vegetable stock, or 4 cups water and bouillon cube
- 1 tsp dried basil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Leaves of green: what are they? Just choose a couple of leaves from some greens that you have handy. We used cauliflower leaves, but spinach would work, or Swiss chard would be fine. You really just want a bit of green in there, for color as much as anything, and having small bits of stem is okay, too.
Sauté. In a large heavy-bottomed pot on medium heat, let the olive oil heat until it shimmers. Add the potatoes and the onion and sauté for 5-7 minutes, or until the onions are tender.
Add everything except the basil. Add the carrots, the greens, lentils, the stock or water, and bouillon, if using. We don’t add the basil until near the end, as basil will lose its flavor as it cooks, defeating the purpose of the basil.
Bring to a boil. Bring everything to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to low and let simmer for about an hour, or until the lentils are starting to disintegrate.
Add basil. Once the lentils are done, add the basil, stir, and let sit, covered, with the heat off for about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.
Serve. See, we said that soup really isn’t very difficult.
While we really like this soup, and it is really easy, we would have to say that it lacks a certain depth of flavor (of course, we are eating it with colds). But what do you expect for a soup made in an hour? Therefore, four stars.