Well the weather has finally turned to what seems like more normal weather in New Jersey for this time of year. *buuuuuuur* I guess it was bound to happen and while the beginning of the week felt gloriously like Spring, the holiday season ain’t the holiday season without a good cold snap. I really don’t mind the cold. What’s miserable is a bone chilling wind. You know what I’m talking about. The kind of cold wind that makes any exposed skin tingle and then hurt like heck. No thank you! Let’s just go with cold for the time being.
What’s better when the weather turns cold than nice hot, hearty soup? NOTHING! Oh, except maybe cuddling on the couch, wrapped in a nice warm blanky, while someone with big warm hands rubs my feet. aaaaaah…… Well, there was no one here to do that today, (pouty face), so soup will have to do and trust me, it did the trick!
This is my basic, no frills lentil soup. It’s quick, easy and I bet you have all of the ingredients in the house already. There’s one little zing I add at the end, but that’s just the way I like it. Enjoy.
First gather the crowd
Chop the ham, onions, celery and garlic
Everything in the pot until they just mellow out….that means soften, but not browned
Oooooh….the guest of honor have arrived. Make sure the lentils are very well rinsed. Add them in along with the broth (chicken or vegetable) and also some salt and pepper
Simmer until the lentils are soft, about 20 minutes or so. Now some people just want their soup to look like lentils floatin around in there. I like my soup to have a somewhat thicker appearance, at least for this specific recipe. I used my immersion blender for about 3 turns of the pot. The soup now looks nice and thick, but I still have the lentils in there visually. To each his own….
Here’s the zing I told you about….hot sauce! Just 2 to 3 shakes, depending on your tastebuds. To me it just gives it a little something extra without making it spicy soup.
Come and get it! This is a filling soup so a piece of bread and a small salad completes this meal. My salad is just thinly sliced tomatoes and cucumbers, with a drizzle of olive oil. Throw some fresh herbs on top….I used basil…and then some salt and pepper. So yummy!
- 1 lb. dry lentils
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- ½ lb. smoked ham or pancetta
- 2 small onions, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 cups chicken stock
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 to 3 shakes of hot sauce, optional
- Start out by thoroughly rinsing the lentils and then set them aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot.
- Stir in the ham, onion, celery and garlic and cook until just tender...about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Now add the lentils, stock, salt and pepper.
- Bring everything to a boil, cover and simmer until the lentils are soft...about 20 minutes.
- If you want a thicker texture, use the immersion blender for 2 to 3 turns of the pot. You can also blend 2 cups of soup in a blender and then put back into the pot.
- If you want that little extra something, shake in the hot sauce.
- Serve it up!