Luckless Lentil Soup

Hooray, it’s March. We’ve “sprung forward,” the sun is out, and the temp is in the 50s. Regardless of the weather, Chris loves soup and yesterday the man came home with a boatload of produce, so much that, once again, we felt compelled to make a homemade vegetable stock. Into the stockpot went carrots, celery, white onions, green onions, carrot tops (see March 5th post), whole garlic heads, handfuls of parsley, and sprigs of fresh thyme and rosemary. First we let all of this saute for awhile then we covered it with water and let it simmer for a few hours. In Chris’s words, it was “carrot-heavy,” but it had great flavor, wasn’t at all greasy, and tasted like spring. Which brings us to tonight’s dinner. Background: I had to proctor a test today which was supposed to last 75 minutes and instead lasted two hours. Needless to say, I got bored and began to think about what to do with the stock. I checked out a few recipes online and made some notes. After the testing period, the students were more than a little bonkers which made for a rough teaching day. Several other things went wrong for both of us – it was one of those days – such as when Chris shattered the mug I got him for Christmas, I took at “short-cut” and ended up in a half-hour of traffic, and more. So when I got home, I took out some frustration on the cutting board and we enjoyed the fruits of my frustration: Luckless Lentil Soup. The victims of the knife: one onion and one celery stalk. These were sauteed with some sea salt in olive oil until they were translucent. I added ½ of a large can of diced tomatoes with basil (we’ll call it 1 ½ cups?), a pound of lentils that I had rinsed thoroughly, a teaspoon each of ground cumin and coriander, and 2 quarts of the vegetable stock. I boiled this, stirring often, then covered it and simmered it for about a half hour. I added a teaspoon each of sweet and hot Hungarian paprika and simmered the soup for another ten minutes. We used our handy hand blender for a few seconds and voila! We had dinner. When Chris came home, he said the house “smells like Panera,” and I, for one, would have happily paid for that soup in any restaurant. Bad day, farewell; food conquers all!

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