Friday, December 10, 2010

Week O' Ina - Part III: My First Shot at Soup!

Well folks, 'tis the last recipe in my week long tribute to Ina Garten.  This woman is really something.  I mean she got me to make a homemade soup!!  A lentil vegetable soup no less, vegetables!  No easy task.  For the record, compared to the price of a cup of soup from Panera, homemade soup is expensive.  When I went to Whole Foods to get ingredients for this and the tuna rolls, I walked out with two shopping bags and nearly $100 less in my wallet.  But, this did make a boat load of soup and I used the best quality ingredients I could find.

1 pound French green lentils

4 cups chopped yellow onions (3 large onions)
4 cups chopped leeks, white part only (2 leeks)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 cups medium-diced celery (8 stalks) - I omitted the celery because it's just gross
3 cups medium-diced carrots (4 to 6 carrots)
3 quarts chicken stock
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 tablespoons red wine
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a large bowl, cover the lentils with boiling water and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Drain.

In a large stockpot on medium heat, saute the onions, leeks, and garlic with the olive oil, salt, pepper, thyme, and cumin for 20 minutes, until the vegetables are translucent and very tender. Add the celery (if you are using it) and carrots and saute for 10 more minutes.
Add the chicken stock, tomato paste, and lentils. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 1 hour, until the lentils are cooked through. Check the seasonings. Add the red wine and serve hot, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with grated Parmesan, or with a simple slice of corn bread.
Or a giant grilled tuna roll.  :)
I really enjoyed the flavor of the broth in this soup.  My only complaint, and something quite fixable for next time, is that she did this with a very rough chop on the veggies.  For people like me (and my kids) who have a hard time with veggies to begin with, I don't know why I thought huge chunks would go over well.  Next time I will dice them much finer.  Oh yeah, and when it came to the kids, I told them the lentils were pasta.  They dove in.

And that is the last of Ina for this week, but I'm sure I'll be posting many more of her recipes in the future.  When I want something homey, flavorful and impressive, her cookbooks are what I turn to.

Where do you turn for a great recipe?


  1. I'll admit, I use Ina more for dessert recipes... I use Giada's recipes the most. She has a good lentil soup recipe too. I agree about chopping the veggies a lot smaller... I'm not a fan of huge chunks either (especially onions).

    I love going to the store for a "few" things and end up spending a lot of money for barely anything... :)

    Oh... almost forgot... Got your Kitchen Confidential the other day! I can't wait to read it!!!! Thanks again!!!!

  2. Yay! You made soup!!! ;-)

    Do you own a stick blender? It is an easy fix for those veggies that are "too big" in the soup. You can blend it to your desire right there in the pot and you don't need to worry about the size of the prepped veggies and beans.

    I think I tend to go to the internet for a recipe when I am feeling experimental, even though I do own a lot of good cookbooks.

  3. Hope you like the book Laura.

    Thanks for the tip Melissa. We do have one of those stick blenders and I will most def use it nexxt time. Great idea as I also hate all that chopping!