Saturday, December 7, 2013

nothing beats a bowl of soup

...on a cold winter Saturday. It is grey and drizzly out - the perfect day to have a fire going, watch Food Network and make lentil soup. This recipe is adapted from Martha Stewart.
lentil soup with savory bagel croutons
1 & 1/2 cups green lentils, picked over and rinsed
4 cups rich stock (I used pork stock, but chicken or vegetable are great too)
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 medium onion, diced
4 strips of bacon, chopped into small pieces
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 cups of warm water
2 day old white or wheat bagels
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
3 tablespoons of EVOO
S&P to taste
In Dutch oven, saute bacon. Pour off all but about a tablespoon of the fat. Add diced onion and carrot to the pan. Saute until onion begins to become translucent. Add garlic and sauté for another few minutes. Add lentils, thyme, tomato paste - stir to incorporate. Add stock and warm water bring to slight boil, then reduce to simmer and cover. Simmer for about 35 minutes until lentils are soft. When lentils are ready, add red wine vinegar and some fresh cracked pepper. Taste for seasonings. I did not add salt because the bacon and pork stock were salty enough for us - but do test at this point. Remove from heat and using an immersion blender, plus a few times. I just wanted a bit of a creamier lentil texture (but I didn't puree the whole soup). If you don't have an immersion blender, you could remove about half of the soup to your blender and pulse a few times. 
For the croutons, cube bagels and place in mixing bowl. Toss with cumin, chili pepper, EVOO and bit of S&P until all pieces are well coated. Assemble on a small baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes - keeping an eye on them in case you would like to toss the croutons so they brown more easily. Allow croutons to cool for about 5 to 10 minutes. Assemble soup in bowls and top with about 5 croutons.
We are finally trimming the tree this evening! Pictures to come I'm sure. The countdown to Christmas is definitely on - let the cooking begin!

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