I eat a lot of lentil soup. It's cheap - if not exactly cheerful - and a good source of fibre and vegetarian protein. Lentil soup was basically invented for health conscious grad students. However, even though I make it all they time, I have never made a truly delicious one until now. The problem with lentils is they can taste "earthy". My strategy to keep things from tasting like dirt is to put as much tasty stuff in the broth I cook the lentils in as I can and hope for the best.
I used a mix of lentils, about 1/3 a cup of brown lentils and 2/3 a cup green lentils. In general I prefer the taste of the green lentils, but I have the brown ones to use up.
I roughly followed a recipe from the Zuni Cafe Cookbook, but I had the small piece of left over beef to use up. This recipe was the result.
Sadly, even though the soup was tasty, it is impossible for me to take a good looking picture of lentil soup.
This recipe makes 4 servings.
Delicious Lentil Soup
6 oz beef cut into 1 cm cubes
1/2 carrot cut into lentil sized pieces
1/2 onion finely chopped
1 red pepper also cut into lentil sized pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
4 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock or water
1 tbsp oil
1 cup lentils, picked over
1. Brown beef in a dutch oven, in batches if the pot seems like it will otherwise be crowded. Remove beef and reserve, fry onion until it starts to turn golden. Add 1/2 cup of water to the pan to deglaze it.
2. Return beef to dutch oven and add bay leaf, garlic, carrots and red pepper. I also added a big pinch of kosher salt. Add 2 more cups of liquid and the lentils.
3. Cook covered for about 35mins until lentils are soft, stirring occasionally. If you notice the lentils have absorbed most the liquid, add a little more water or broth .
I reserved a little broth because I find the leftover soup will continuing to absorb liquid. Then when I am going to eat it the next day I add a little broth to thin it out.