Lentil soup: So nutritious, so yummy, so why not make some for dinner tonight? I grew up eating this on a regular basis and I’ll admit there was a time when I couldn’t stand it! I went through a “picky-eater” phase which was tough since lentil soup was in regular rotation in my mom’s kitchen. But then I grew up! And I realized that I really love to eat and I that I really love lentil soup! I’ve been making this soup for years now. My girls have been eating this pretty much since they could eat solid food! (pureed at first, of course!) And, believe it or not, they love it! I made it tonight and they both ate huge bowls without so much as a whine.
This recipe makes a huge batch so you’re either cooking it for a crowd or for freezing (which is what I always do!). You’ll thank me later when you have no idea what to make for dinner, didn’t have time to run to the store and/or have no desire to cook…just pop a container out of the freezer and Presto! Dinner is served!
Sopa de Lentejas
1/2 onion, diced
3-4 garlic cloves, diced
3 carrots, diced
2 celery, diced
1/2 large green bell pepper, diced
2 lbs dried lentils (I prefer the smaller brown “french” lentils that I can buy by weight or use 2 packets of dried lentils from the regular grocer)
1 tomato, chopped (or 1 c of canned diced tomatoes with juices)
1 russet potato, peeled and diced
1-2 cups of baby spinach (optional)
Spanish-style chorizo* (cured, not fresh) I prefer Palacios brand which I can find at my local supermarket and sometimes at Costco
2 bay leaves
3 sprigs of thyme
Spanish paprika (pimenton)
dash of cumin
32 oz Chicken Stock (low sodium)
32 oz Beef Stock (low sodium)
2-3 tbsp olive oil
Heat up the olive oil in a pressure cooker or heavy duty pot over medium heat. Sautee onion and galic until the onions are slightly translucent and your kitchen starts to smell tasty! Add the carrots, celery, and bell peppers and let them sautee for about 3-4 minutes. While the veggies are sizzling away dump the lentils into a colander and rinse under cold water. This will give you the chance to spot any odd lentils or rocks that may have slipped in. Toss the lentils into the pot and stir everything up so the lentils can get coated in the olive oil as well. If you have the Spanish paprika, this when I like to add about 2 tsp, you can add to your liking. Add the tomato, bay leaves, thyme and cumin. Turn the temperature to high and add in the chicken stock. Then slowly add the beef stock. I don’t use the entire amount, just enough so that you have a couple of inches of liquid covering the lentils. You can always add more liquid later. At this point add the chopped potato and salt. Also throw in the spinach if you’re using.
If you use a pressure cooker, like I do, then cover the pot and seal it. Once it’s simmering away turn the temp down to medium and cook for about 20 minutes. When the time is up, let the pressure cooker cool off, release the pressure if you can, then carefully take off the lid. Most of the liquid will have been absorbed so you might have to add some stock or water at this point. When you can, taste for texture and salt. Simmer for a while longer if the lentils aren’t soft enough, but don’t let them get mushy!
If using a regular pot then put the lid on and bring the temperature to a constant simmer, avoiding a hard boil. It will probably take you about 40-45 minutes to achieve the right texture. Keep an eye on the amount of liquid, adding stock or water if needed.
*Note: I usually leave the chorizos whole (but I like to peel ahead of time) while it’s cooking. Once the soup is done and to my liking I remove the chorizos and give them a rough chop on the cutting board and toss them back in. This soup freezes really well. Just put it (cooled) in a tightly sealed container and freeze. I usually put away smaller portions that I know will feed my daughters for lunch or in larger portions that I figure will feed us for dinner one night.
I hope you and your family enjoy the soup!