August 30, 2009

A Saturday Evening at Home

This Saturday was rainy and overcast and after last week, Sam and I were both ready to hibernate.  So we stayed in to relax and make a feel-good meal of lentil soup.  I adapted this recipe for 2 (plus leftovers for lunch) from Ina Garten’s the barefoot contessa cookbook.  Ina holds a special place in my heart, and for that matter, my stomach.  I have never been disappointed by any of her recipes, and let’s face it, she’s just adorable in those denim shirts.

**For my vegetarians, I used chicken stock in this version but you can easily substitute vegetable stock for an easy, vegetarian-friendly meal.

I cut out a few spices and flavors in this recipe to make it small kitchen /budget friendly. Cumin is the only spice that I didn’t already have in my pantry, but I consider it a good investment.  I’m going to want to make this soup again and again.


A Perfect Rainy Day Lentil Soup

(Adapted from Lentil Vegetable Soup, the barefoot contessa cookbook)

Makes 4 servings
½ lb green lentils
1 Large yellow onion, chopped
2 Cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. olive oil
½ Tsp. ground cumin
Salt & pepper to taste
1 ½ c. chopped celery (about 4 stalks)
1 ½ c. chopped carrots (about 4 carrots)
1 ½ Quarts (6 cups) chicken stock
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
Splash of red wine
In a large bowl, cover lentils with boiling water and let sit for 15 minutes.  Drain.
In a large pot (mine is 2 ¾ quarts), sauté the onions, garlic, salt & pepper, and cumin with the oil until the onions are translucent and tender.  Add celery and carrots and sauté for another 10 minutes. Add the chicken stock, lentils, and tomato paste and stir.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for one hour – lentils should be tender and cooked through.  Season with salt & pepper again to taste and add a splash of red wine.  Serve with a good, crusty bread.   

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