Lentil Soup

Soup

A bowl of lentil soup is unmatched in its simplicity.   If you can boil water and chop an onion, you
can make this delicious one pot meal. It can be dressed up with a dollop of sour
cream, chopped parsley, and served with crusty bread– or simply reheated for a hearty work lunch.

I'd like to extend an invitation to my Chicago readers to join me this Wednesday at the Hideout from 5 pm to 8 pm where I will be cooking soup with my fellow Gapers Block contributing food writers and serving it with Columbia College film professor Dan Rybicky and dietician Bettina Tahsin. As part of this Soup and Bread series, all the food will be donated by the cooks and served free of charge.  A hat will be passed for donations to the Greater Chicago Food Depository to help others keep food on their plates.  Come by to say hello, have a beer and eat some soup while helping out those in need.

Soup2

While there are many excellent recipes and endless modifications one can make to lentil soup, here is my current favorite.  It has a unique earthiness and bite to it thanks to the cumin and black pepper.

Lentil and Sweet Red Pepper Soup with Cumin and Black Pepper
Adapted from The Zuni Café Cookbook

Ingredients

3 Tbs olive oil
½ C finely chopped red bell pepper
½ tsp whole black peppercorns
¼ tsp cumin seeds
¼ C carrot, finely chopped
¼ C celery, finely chopped
¼ C yellow onion, finely chopped
1 large garlic clove, chopped
1 Turkish bay leaf
1 sprig of Italian parsley, chopped (both
stem and leaves)
1 C lentils, preferably Beluga or French green
4 to 4 ½ C good-quality vegetable stock
Salt

Method

In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm 1 Tbs oil. Add the bell pepper and cook, stirring, until it softens, about 5 minutes.

In a mortar, crush the peppercorns and cumin seeds. Add them to the saucepan, and cook the mixture for 1 minute.

Add the remaining oil, carrot, celery, onion, garlic, bay leaf, parsley, and lentils, and 3 C of stock. Stir and
bring it to a simmer. Reduce the heat, and cook the soup uncovered, barely simmering, until the lentils are tender and have absorbed most of the stock, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover, and let stand for 5 minutes to allow the lentils to soften.

Using an immersion blender, partially puree the soup, so that about half of the lentils are still whole. Add a bit more broth to bring the soup to your desired texture and season to taste.

show hide 18 comments

Brittany - I LOVE zuni’s lentil soup
…and the roast chicken and biscotti.
It’s a great book.
Yours looks lovely : )

Brittany - I LOVE zuni’s lentil soup
…and the roast chicken and biscotti.
It’s a great book.
Yours looks lovely : )

kickpleat - yum! i’ve got pretty much everything i need to make this, but i need to take a break from soups since i’ve been making them pretty much non-stop for about 2 weeks. My husband who hates soups would probably appreciate a reprieve! but i’ll put this on my list, definitely :)

kickpleat - yum! i’ve got pretty much everything i need to make this, but i need to take a break from soups since i’ve been making them pretty much non-stop for about 2 weeks. My husband who hates soups would probably appreciate a reprieve! but i’ll put this on my list, definitely :)

Joelen - This looks delicious and perfect for the cold weather!

Joelen - This looks delicious and perfect for the cold weather!

edible forest - lentils, incredible simple and tasty food!
great!

edible forest - lentils, incredible simple and tasty food!
great!

Irene - How great! I love lentil soup and I love the Zuni Cafe cookbook – can never go wrong with that one. The photos are very homey and appetizing!

Irene - How great! I love lentil soup and I love the Zuni Cafe cookbook – can never go wrong with that one. The photos are very homey and appetizing!

J.F. Bruzan - Harvard Avenue - Thanks for posting this recipe. It turned out great. A quick and simple soup, like this, is very handy to have.

J.F. Bruzan - Harvard Avenue - Thanks for posting this recipe. It turned out great. A quick and simple soup, like this, is very handy to have.

Gemma - Thanks everyone. I’m glad to hear that others are as enthusiastic about the Zuni recipe. It is definitely a keeper.
J.F.– I agree, simple soups are often the best.

Gemma - Thanks everyone. I’m glad to hear that others are as enthusiastic about the Zuni recipe. It is definitely a keeper.
J.F.– I agree, simple soups are often the best.

Lynn - This is lovely. One can throw in a bit of turmeric too, since it’s good for memory function. Also if I have leftovers I drain the liquid a bit and add my favorite vinaigrette, plus crumbled Feta cheese, and turn it into a salad. Green lentils are simply the best, they don’t get too mushy like the red variety. Thank you!

Lynn - This is lovely. One can throw in a bit of turmeric too, since it’s good for memory function. Also if I have leftovers I drain the liquid a bit and add my favorite vinaigrette, plus crumbled Feta cheese, and turn it into a salad. Green lentils are simply the best, they don’t get too mushy like the red variety. Thank you!

Gemma - You are welcome Lynn. Great suggestions with turmeric and salad!

Gemma - You are welcome Lynn. Great suggestions with turmeric and salad!

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