Your day may be filled with potatoes and pecans and cranberries but dinner tonight may not have crossed your mind. And maybe this is not just a Thanksgiving eve problem, I get stuck with less than exciting options in my fridge to throw a dinner together but I usually have the staples for a simple bowl of lentil soup. I am excited to build up that "basics" section I mentioned and I absolutely believe that lentil soup has a place there. This soup builds off of a dependable mirepoix with the addition of sweet potato. I use two types of lentils for their texture differences and a gentle hand with the spices and then it's hands off while the dutch oven works it comfy, warm meal magic. There is maybe an Indian background from the turmeric and just enough spice to keep it from being bland. Add and get creative as you wish, but hope that this quick soup of pantry staples can make meal time a little easier some night soon.
EVERYDAY LENTIL SOUP // Serves 4
I did not use two types of lentils to make it complicated for you, I believe they add a different texture and color. The reds will break down and add some heartiness to the broth where the green will hold their individual shape. Both are lovely, but if you find this to be a hassle, go with just green. Once you blend a bit of the soup, the broth with still get some bulk to it regardless. The color will be a little more murky. If you like a bit of heat, add one chopped jalapeno to the vegetable mixture.
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion
1 large carrot, peeled
1 medium sweet potato, peeled
2 stalks of celery
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. sea salt, plus more to taste
1/2 tsp. lemon pepper (or something similar, like Mrs. Dash)
1 tsp. Italian herbs
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes, to taste
1/2 cup green or dePuy Lentils
1/2 cup split red lentils
5 cups vegetable or chicken broth*
1/2 tsp. turmeric
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter or olive oil
3 cups roughly chopped kale
squeeze of lemon, optional
1/2 cup chopped parsley, for garnish
1/2-3/4 cup grated parmesan or something similar (dry and sharp)
fresh, toasted baguette, for serving
In a large dutch oven over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Chop the onion, carrot, sweet potato and celery into roughly 1/4" pieces. Put all of the vegetables, including garlic, into the warm pot with the sea salt and saute until just softened, about 5-6 minutes. Stir in the lemon pepper, Italian herbs, red pepper and both lentils. Add the broth and stir. Turn the heat to low and cover. Cook for 30-40 minutes until everything is tender but not mushy. Using an immersion or regular blender, blend up about half of the soup just so it gets thicker but nowhere close to purees. You still want the texture of the vegetables to come through. Turn off the heat. Stir in the turmeric, butter/oil and kale and stir for the greens to just soften and marry into the soup. Taste for seasoning.
Serve each bowl with a squeeze of lemon, parsley and generous sprinkle of parmesan. Best served with crusty baguette on the side.
*Soup texture is a personal preference. I don't really like them stewy, but it's always easier to add liquid than go back. I found five cups to be about right after blending and letting it cool down a bit (where it thickens slightly), you may adjust to taste.