One of the inexplicable miracles of cooking is that it’s apparently impossible to make a bad lentil soup. The worst I ever had was pretty good. The best were so good that they were gobbled up immediately and followed by a second serving. Leftover lentil soup can be refrigerated and will be even better the next day.
Lentil trivia: these little beans are among the few Old World beans that are still widely eaten. (Chickpeas are another.) They’re not closely related to red beans or the other common beans.
There is nothing better than lentil soup for when you have a cold.
- 1 lb. lentils
- 3 Tbs. butter
- 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
- 3/4 cup chopped celery
- 3/4 cup finely diced carrots
- 1 clove chopped garlic
- 1 12-oz. can V-8 juice
- 2 quarts light stock (beef, veal, chicken, or a combination)
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. thyme
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp. Tabasco
1. Sort through the lentils and pick out debris, then wash them. Lentils don’t need to be soaked for hours like red beans.
2. Melt the butter in a five-quart saucepan or Dutch oven. Sauté the vegetables until they begin to get tender. Add the V-8 juice, the stock, and the lentils and bring the pot to a boil.
3. Lower to a simmer. Add the salt, thyme, pepper, bay leaf, and Tabasco. Cover and simmer for two to three hours, or at least until the lentils are tender. Stir occasionally.