Provencal Red Lentil Soup

Submitted by: SusanV
Serving Size : 4 

I made this simple soup last night and it was heavenly.  Here's what I did: I didn't have leeks, so I substituted 2 chopped onions.  I made up a mixture of Herbes de Provence following the recipe at the end, and at the very end, I pureed part of the soup using a hand-blender, trying to keep most of the carrot pieces intact.  Also, I followed the regular directions, not the pressure cooker ones, because it was such a quick-cooking dish.  Definitely a keeper.

5 cups water
1 tablespoon vegetable bouillon granules -- (heaping measure)
1 cup red lentils -- picked over, rinsed
2 cups chopped leeks -- include tender tops
3 large carrots; scrubbed -- 1/2-inch dice
1 1/2 teaspoons Herbes de Provence
salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (optional) -- for garnish

In a heavy soup pot, bring the water and stock powder to a boil. Add the lentils, stir to separate them. Add leeks, carrots and herbs. Return to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the lentils are very soft, about 20 minutes. Stir frequently and well, as the lentils tend to sink to the bottom.

Stir in salt and pepper to taste, garnish with parsley if you wish and serve hot.

PRESSURE COOKER VARIATION: If using a jiggle-top pressure cooker, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil along with the lentils and cook for 4 minutes under high pressure. Allow the pressure to come down naturally or use a quick release method. Stir well and add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish and serve.

HERBES DE PROVENCE has equal measures of dried basil, tarragon, summer savory, rosemary and marjoram. It may include an equal measure of chervil. Add extra basil. Can add dried lavender for aromatic.

NOTES : The aroma of the herbes de Provence in this simple but substantial soup will transport you to a sunny garden in the South of France. Although the soup has no oil, the smooth texture of the red lentils gives it a creamy richness.  To enhance this aspect, you can puree all or part of the soup. Red lentils are a prime short-cut legume because they cook so quickly and require no presoaking.  Serve the soup with a sliced baguette so you and your guests can mop up every last drop.

Recipe By :Short Cut Vegetarian by Lorna Sass

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