Monday, November 12, 2007

best lentil soup ever

By request:

This is adapted slightly from a Cooks Illustrated recipe.

Fragrant Lentil Soup

Makes about 2 quarts, serving 4 to 6

3 slices bacon (about 3 ounces), cut into 1/4-inch pieces

1 large onion , chopped fine (about 1 1/2 cups)

2 medium carrots , peeled and chopped medium (about 1 cup)

2 stalks celery

3 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 can diced tomatoes (14 1/2 ounces), drained

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves

1 cup lentils (7 ounces), rinsed and picked over

½ cup barley

½-3/4 teaspoon table salt

ground black pepper

1/2 cup dry white wine

4 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 1/2 cups water

1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice

3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro leaves

  • Fry bacon in large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until fat is rendered and bacon is crisp, 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Add onion carrots and celery; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to soften, about 2 minutes.
  • Add garlic, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and cayenne; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  • Stir in tomatoes, bay leaf, and thyme; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  • Stir in lentils, barley, salt, and pepper to taste; cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until vegetables are softened and lentils have darkened, 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Uncover, increase heat to high, add wine, and bring to simmer.
  • Add chicken broth and water; bring to boil, cover partially, and reduce heat to low.
  • Simmer until lentils are tender but still hold their shape, 30 to 35 minutes; discard bay leaf.
  • Partially puree with a hand blender, or puree 3 cups soup in blender until smooth, then return to pot; stir in lemon juice and heat soup over medium-low until hot, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in 2 tablespoons cilantro and serve, garnishing each bowl with some of remaining cilantro.

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