Thursday, January 13, 2011

50 in 50, Day 3: Lentil-Spinach Soup

Note to self:  Never try a new recipe after a long day out.  And find a new title to use -- I'm tired of typing 50 in 50, Day whatever.

I'm a little cranky tonight.  I probably should have ordered takeout.  Heather and I went to Seattle to see the Picasso exhibit at SAM, and I am one tired puppy!  We left around 11:00 this morning, and didn't get home until 5:30.  I made so many mistakes putting the soup together I'm surprised it made it to the table.

Paul loved it (what a surprise).  I thought it was okay.  Sprinkling grated Parmesan on top helped a lot.  I'll try it again, but next time I'm using vegetable stock.  Using plain water made the stock taste, well...watery!

Lentil-Spinach Soup
The Greens Cook Book
Yield:  Serves four to six.

The Stock
Use water plus any juice reserved from the tomatoes called for in The Soup ingredients

The Soup
1 cup green or brown lentils, cleaned and rinsed
1 bay leaf
1 celery stalk, diced into 1/4 inch squares
7 cups water
3 tbsp olive oil
1 large red onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp parsley, chopped
3 medium tomatoes, fresh or canned, peeled, seeded, and chopped; juice reserved
1 bunch spinach (about 1 pound), stems removed and leaves washed
Red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar to taste
Asagio or Parmesan cheese, grated, or creme fraiche

     Put the lentils, bay leaf, and celery in a soup pot with the water, the reserved juice from the tomatoes, and 1/2 tsp salt.  Bring to a boil and scoop off any foam that forms on the surface; then lower the heat to a slow boil.  While the lentils are cooking, heat the oil in a skillet and add the onion and 1/2 tsp salt; cook briskly for a few minutes, lower the heat, and stir in the garlic and parsley.  Continue cooking until the onion is soft.  Add the tomatoes and cook for five minutes; then combine with the cooking lentils.
    Cut the spinach leaves into 1/2 inch strips, there should be about 4 cups.  When the lentils are sot, stir in the spinach by the handfuls.  Once it has cooked down, thin the soup, if necessary, by adding more water, and taste for salt.
     Simmer the soup 5 minutes; then add vinegar to taste, to brighten the flavors.  Serve with freshly ground black pepper and Asagio or Parmesan cheese, or a spoonful of creme fraiche.

This soup would be nicely complimented by a chardonnay.

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