Heaven on Earth

Heaven on Earth

Monday, September 20, 2010

Lentil Vegetable Soup

My friend and next-door neighbor hosts a Wednesday afternoon knitting group.  She has also been building a cabin;  and yes, she is amazing!  She invited the knitting group up to her cabin for a fall lunch.  It was a crisp afternoon in her beautiful cabin, with a waterfall right outside her door.

I brought soup; hearty, tasty, flavorful, lentil soup.  What?  You say you don't like lentils; you think lentil soup is bland and boring? Not this one.  It's loaded with veggies and has a tomato flavor, which is enhanced by bacon renderings and smoked ham.  The ingredients meld together to make a hearty, filling, and very flavorful soup.  I always garnish with real Parmesan cheese gratings. If your family doesn't like lentils, try this soup and change their mind.  It's the favorite soup of many in my family.  It gets better after a day in the fridge, and this one freezes well.  In fact, when I make soup I usually double the recipe and freeze half.  BUT, I don't double this recipe because it makes A LOT; plenty to have some left for the freezer.  I cook a lot with lentils.  I don't need to tell you how healthy they are, but I love them because they taste good.  In fact, I buy them in bulk from here.  It saves me a lot of money and I always have some in the pantry.  The green lentils are much firmer in texture than the brown ones, and they take a little longer to cook but they don't get mushy and disintegrate.  If you are not a lentil fan you definitely should try the green lentils, also called Du Puy.

Lentil Soup
¼ lb. bacon, minced
1/2 lb. of smoked ham chunks (optional)
1 lb. French green lentils
4 C. chopped yellow onions (about 3 large)
4 C. chopped leeks, white part only (about 2 large leeks)
1 Tab. minced garlic (about 3 cloves)
2 Tab. extra virgin olive oil (use only as much as needed for sauteing)
1 Tab. kosher salt
1½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1Tab. minced fresh thyme leaves (or you can use 1 tsp. dried)
1 tsp. ground cumin
3 C. medium-diced celery (about 8 stalks)
3 C. medium-diced carrots (4 to 6 carrots)
3 quarts chicken stock
¼ C. tomato paste (about ½ of a 6 oz. can)
2 Tab. red wine vinegar
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for sprinkling on top

In a large bowl, cover the lentils with boiling water and let sit for 20 minutes. Drain.

In a large pot over medium heat, sauté the bacon bits until they are crunchy and all the fat is rendered. Remove the bits and discard or save for another use. or use as a garnish at serving time (the bacon bits become rubbery in the soup, so I use the rendered fat to add flavor to the onions).

Add the onions, leeks, and garlic to the bacon fat. Toss. Then add the salt, pepper, thyme, and cumin and sauté for 20 minutes, until the veggies are tender and translucent. Add the extra olive oil as needed to keep the mixture from sticking to the pan, being careful not to let the garlic burn). Add the celery and carrots, and sauté for 10 minutes more. Add the stock, tomato paste, ham (if you are using it) and lentils. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for one hour, until the lentils are cooked through. Check the seasonings. Add half of the red wine vinegar, taste it and add the rest if you want more. Serve hot, sprinkled with grated Parmesan cheese.
Serves 12 generously.
Ready for transport.

This is my Hearth 'n Soul entry for this week.


  1. I try desperately to like lentils. Maybe I'll try again.

  2. No fair, I have been craving this soup for months!!!! You better save some in the freezer for me

  3. Abby, I always do.

    Pam, Have you tried the French Green Lentils? They have a different flavor and texture than the plain brown lentils. The texture is not as mushy and I like them much better than the brown. Try this soup. I think you will really like it.

  4. Lentil soups is one of my favorites! I can't wait to make a big pot!

  5. I like lentil soup and I;m going to try your recipe. Sound delicious Bonnie! Thanks! Looks like you had a fun time at the cabin:)

  6. I will have to get some of your green lentil's, thanks for the link and the recipe. The timing couldn't have been better, my supply of brown lentils is running low, perfect time to try something new.

  7. Oh, and what fun ladies you have in the knitting group:)

  8. Love lentil soups, this is one to try. Thanks.

  9. Building a cabin!? Wow! I think it sounds comforting and delicious...thanks for sharing it w/ hearth 'n soul this week =)

  10. My kids call lentil soup mush - I have used brown and red but never green lentils - this must be the secret! Thanks for linking this to the hearth and soul hop!

  11. Lentil soup was one of my favorites in college. I wonder why I never make it now? I'm so jealous of your knitting group! I'm too uptight to knit, and my stitches turn into a big knot. Fortunately I can crochet. Thanks for linking up with the Hearth and Soul hop this week :)

  12. Hi,
    I highlighted this in a linky love post!

    thanks again!

  13. Bonnie! Thanks for sharing this lovely recipe on the hearth and soul hop this week. You know, as a child, my mother would make this often, and I remember not wanting to try it, and finally I did and fell in LOVE with it! Lentil soup is one of my favorite winter warm uppers! :) Alex@amoderatelife

  14. Hi there

    Thanks for sharing, I have digged this post