Lentil Tomato Soup
This is an easy, robust vegetarian soup that tastes almost meaty. The rosemary in the bouquet garni contributes a savory, earthy flavor.
- 1 cup lentils, washed and picked over
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1 stalk of celery, diced
- Salt to taste
- 1 14-ounce can chopped tomatoes, with juice
- 5 cups water
- A bouquet garni made with 2 sprigs rosemary and 1 bay leaf
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- Grated Parmesan or Gruyère for serving
- 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a heavy soup pot or Dutch oven, and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until tender, about five minutes. Add the garlic, carrot and celery, and a generous pinch of salt, and continue to cook for another five minutes until tender. Add the tomatoes and bouquet garni, and cook, stirring often, until the tomatoes have cooked down somewhat and smell fragrant, about 10 minutes. Add the lentils, water and salt to taste. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer gently one hour. Taste and adjust seasonings. Remove the bouquet garni, and stir in the parsley. Serve, garnishing each bowl with Parmesan or Gruyère.
Variation: For an even more substantial, minestrone-like soup, add 1 cup cooked elbow macaroni or rice just before serving.
Yield: Serves four.
Advance preparation: This soup will improve overnight, and keeps well for three or four days, though you will probably finish it sooner. It can be frozen for a couple of months.