Here comes the rain again. This weather has me in fight or flight mode but since I have yet to acquire any superpower ability to change the weather, I decided to make the most of these rainy days and curl up with a warm bowl of lentil soup. You can use any type of lentils for this soup. I have had a beautiful bag of French (Le Puy) lentils in my pantry for sometime and decided to finally cook a dish worthy of their presence. These lentils come from the Le Puy region of France (famous for lace and lentils) but you do not have to travel there to buy them. You can find them at certain grocery stores and markets. I was drawn by their coloring, green with a blue marbled tone, but the real benefit of these lentils is that unlike many lentils that become like mush within a day or so, these lentils keep their firmness.
This soup is simple and packed with flavor.
French Lentil Soup, serves 6-8
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium carrots ,diced
2 large stalks celery, diced
2 medium potatoes, cut into small cubes
1 cup baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 cup French Le Puy lentils ,aka French lentils, rinsed and drained
6 cups vegetable broth (you can substitute chicken broth for a non-vegan/vegetarian option)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3-4-sprigs fresh thyme, stems removed
In a stock pot heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic cooking until translucent and golden brown, about 5-7 minutes. Add the celery and carrots and cook for another 4-5 minutes or until beginning to soften. Add potatoes cooking for another 5 minutes, then mushrooms cooking for another 4 searing a little if possible. Add the lentils and cook for another minute or two.
Add remaining ingredients (except for thyme to garnish) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove bay leaves. Serve with fresh thyme sprinkled on top of each bowl.