Thursday, March 5, 2009

Susan's Lentil Soup

There's something inherently comforting about having a big pot of soup simmering on your stove top, especially when the weather has been as cold and rainy as it has been here lately in Southern California (boy, will my family in Ohio roll their eyes when they read that sentence). Add to that simmering pot of soup a crusty loaf of freshly baked bread and a well-worn pair of flannel pajamas and, well, we've just described one of my favorite ways to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon.

If you have anything to fear, it's not the somewhat long ingredient list below. Although there is some prep work to be done, like chopping the vegetables and rinsing and picking through the lentils (to sort out any bad looking lentils or small stones that may have made it into the bag), this recipe is not very time intensive, except for all that wonderful simmering.

And in case you were wondering, the Susan mentioned in the recipe title is not only an actual person, she also just  happens to be one of the best souvenirs that I took away from my time living in Spain (you know, besides the ability to speak Spanish or the first-hand knowledge of a wonderful country). She gave me this recipe when I went to visit her in Virginia and she nonchalantly served me a bowl of the best soup I had ever tasted.  She didn't make me beg, either. She just gave me the recipe, told me not to fear the long ingredient list, and sent me happily on my way.


Susan's Lentil Soup

2 large onions, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
6 ribs of celery, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp dried thyme
5 cups water
5 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup tomato sauce (or ketchup)
3 cups stewed plum tomatoes, chopped
2 cups lentils, rinsed 
1/2 cup dry cooking sherry

1.) In a large stockpot, heat olive oil and cook onions over  moderate heat until softened.
2) Add garlic, celery and carrots. Cook 10-15 minutes or until softened.
3) Add everything else and simmer for at least two hours

Discard bay leaves before eating.

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