Wednesday, December 2, 2009

French Lentil Soup

There are some strange recipes out there on the net. Recipes that tout how 'easy' they are. Recipes that use dubious shortcuts, like putting pudding mix in a baked cheesecake! The horror.

Why, I came across a bean chili recipe that contained no more than four ingredients and the only means of seasoning was steak sauce. Yes, thats right, steak sauce. Now, maybe steak sauce chili tastes good, I don't know but I consider using steak sauce as the sole means of seasoning chili sorta cheating. I also consider this lentil soup a bit of a cheater too. I hate to admit it, there is a short cut involved, in the form of store bought marinara sauce.

Now now, before anyone yanks my food blogger-card away, it does make the soup taste really good. I'll further defend myself by noting that this soup recipe was taught to me by a professional who used this shortcut in her own kitchen and if she can do it, so can I.

Besides, I have to post my cheater recipe. It is hands down, my favorite lentil soup.

Not so Humble's French Lentil Soup:

3 tablespoons extra–virgin olive oil
3 cups diced onion
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced carrots
3 garlic cloves, minced
8 cups chicken broth (or vegetable stock)
1 cup good quality chunky marinara (I used Mom's Garlic & Basil)
16 oz lentils washed, picked over and drained
15 ounce can diced tomatoes (not drained)
1/4-1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

In a large pot over medium high, heat the olive oil and add the onion, celery, carrots and garlic. Cook stirring occasionally till the vegetables have slightly browned (about 10 minutes). Add the chicken stock, lentils, tomatoes with their liquid and marinara and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer covered for roughly 45 minutes until the lentils are tender. Remove 2 cups of lentils from the soup, purée in a blender and return to the soup mixture to thicken. Add additional water if necessary to reach the desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper and add the vinegar to taste.

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