What do you crave on snowy days? I crave soup. The kind of soup that's a meal on it's own. Give me a hearty bowl, full of vegetables and spices and I'm happy. Especially when is either butternut squash or lentil.
I've been reading Laura Wright's new book based on her blog The First Mess. Not only are Laura's plant based recipes why you want to consider becoming vegan a couple of days a week, but the ingredients she uses are quite likely to be in your pantry and fridge. It makes any of her recipes something you could whip up for dinner tonight without having to take a trip to the grocery store.
A couple of days ago, in the middle of a snowstorm, I decided to make her cozy lentil soup and I'm so glad I did. The smell of thyme in the air (a herb that I should definitely use more often) along with the rest of the spices was exactly what my soul needed. Winter means comforting meals, and this soup my friends is that and more.
Have it with warm bread and you'll be in paradise in no time.
* Serves 10
3 tbsp virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, small dice
2 tsp minced fresh thyme leaves (about 4 sprigs)
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp dried tarragon
2 medium carrots, small dice
2 stalks celery, small dice
salt and pepper, to taste
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup French lentils
1 can (14 ounces) crushed tomatoes - preferably fire roasted
1 can (14 ounces) diced tomatoes - preferably fire roasted
6 cups vegetable stock
In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions to the pot and stir. They should be sizzling but just barely. Continue to stir and sauté the onions until the are completely soft and starting to break down a bit, about 8 minutes.
To the onions, add the minced thyme, smoked paprika, and dried tarragon. Stir the spices in and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add the carrots and celery to the pot and stir. Season the whole thing with salt and pepper. Sauté the carrots and celery until barely softened, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add the lentils to the pot and stir to coat them with oil, spices and vegetables. Add the crushed tomatoes and diced tomatoes to the pot and stir to combine. Add the vegetable stock and stir one more.
Cover the soup and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and adjust the pot lid, slightly allowing some steam to escape. It should be sitting on top of the pot but slightly askew.
Simmer until the lentils are tender, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes. Check the soup for seasoning, adjust accordingly and serve hot.