Monday, November 15, 2010
CLU: Lentil Soup
The current theme over at Cookbook Lovers Unite is "Warm and Cozy." Daylight savings time has ended. It's dark outside, and, here in New England, it's getting cold. Even on days that reach the 60s during daylight hours, it is dropping into the 20s and 30s at night. I'm not quite sure where summer went. As a matter of fact, I feel like it was just yesterday that I was out picking strawberries. But, somehow, it became November.
This is particularly astonishing to me because I so clearly remember this time last year. I was a bundle (a very large bundle) of anticipation. With each passing week, I was getting more and more anxious to meet my baby. At every store, I'd feel a twinge of nervousness when I saw the holiday displays. That means this baby is really going to arrive!! And now, here I am, with an 11-month-old baby. Where did the time go?
Oh yeah. This post was supposed to be about lentil soup. So, based on the Cookbook Lovers Unite theme, I browsed through my Nigella Lawson cookbooks. Because, to me, when you mention needing a "warm and cozy" recipe, I think of Nigella. There's something so homey and comforting about her books, her personality, her recipes.
I am on a never-ending search for the perfect lentil soup recipe I ate it once, at a restaurant in Florida. I was visiting my Grandma, and it came with my meal. I can't remember the name of the restaurant. I only remember the perfect lentil soup, and the regret I now feel about not asking for the recipe. What was the worst thing? They said no? Now I'll never know.
So, I search and I search. I make lentil soup recipe after lentil soup recipe, and, sadly, it's never the one. This one looked very promising. Pancetta? Scallions? Carrot and celery and garlic, all pureed? Sounded perfect. It wasn't. It was a decent lentil soup. But it wasn't perfect. It wasn't that golden bowl I ate in Florida. And so the search continues.
adapted from Feast by Nigella Lawson
4 carrots, roughly chopped
3 oz pancetta or bacon, chopped
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups lentils
2 tsp wholegrain mustard
1 3/4 cups canned chopped tomatoes
8 cups water
Put the carrots into a food processor with pancetta, scallions, parsley, thyme and garlic. Process to a mush, and then heat the oil in a Dutch oven and cook over medium heat, until they are soft.
Stir in the lentils, then add the mustard, tomatoes, and water. Bring to a boil and
simmer gently for 1 hour or thereabouts.
Yield: 10 servings