January 28, 2009

Red Lentil and Potato Soup

I've been hearing a lot about lentil and potato soup lately. My friend Elizabeth blogged about her's recently, and my mom mentioned that she had some good lentil potato soup at a cafe in Maryland. Plus, I had a bunch of red lentils leftover from my Mulligatawny Soup Mix foray at Christmas. So it only seemed appropriate on the eve of *another* Portland snow storm, to make some lentil soup.

I started by chopping all my ingredients: carrots, onions, celery, garlic, red-skinned potatoes, and acorn squash. Oh, and bacon too, because duh.

I sauteed the mirepoix in 2 tablespoons of butter until the onions were transparent, and it smelled nice and yummy. Then I added the bacon, cranked the heat up, and cooked the crap out of it. I cooked it longer than my instincts told me too, and I'm glad I did! I didn't want pieces of gross, soggy bacon fat in my finished soup, so I made sure to fry that bacon for a good while.

 Oh, I added the garlic in towards the end of the sauteeing- I didn't want it to burn and turn bitter.

Then I added the potatoes, squash, and lentils and cooked them until the lentils looked like they had soaked up some of the fat. The bottom of the pan was all nice and brown too, so I deglazed it with some dry sherry.

Now for the easy part- I added bay leaves, fresh thyme, salt and pepper, and about 6 cups of chicken stock (homemade!). I brought it all up to a boil and then reduced to a simmer until the potatoes and squash were tender. Oh, and towards the end, I remembered that I intended to add some diced tomatoes. But I didn't want to just dump in a whole 14 oz can, after my chicken broth tasted so yummy. So I added about 1/3 of a can (tomatoes and their juice).

I served it garnished with fresh black pepper and sour cream, with a slice of whole wheat bread covered in olive oil. It was delish!