I have mixed luck with soup, but this weekend I made the best lentil soup I’ve had. And no, that’s not intended to be damning-with-faint-lentil-praise — it was delicious.
I used The New Best Recipe for initial inspiration (their key insight being sweating the lentils first), but also made some changes:
I cut two strips of bacon into pieces and cooked them until done but not crispy.
I sauteed two minced shallots in the bacon fat (with the bacon still in) a few minutes until translucent, added 3 cloves of crushed garlic, 2 bay leaves, a crushed dried nora pepper from Tierra Farms, and about 1tsp of whole cardamom seed, turmeric, and cayenne powder, a little black pepper, and sauteed/toasted that for a few minutes.
I sorted and rinsed a cup of lentils, then added them to the spices (without any other liquid) and cooked them for about 8 minutes on medium, stirring. This was the “sweating”.
Then I added about 1/4 cup of cooking rice wine, 2 cups of chicken stock, 3 cups of water, brought them to a boil, then turned it down to a simmer and cooked for about 20 minutes– the lentils were tender but not mushy or falling apart. I fished out the bay leaves, then used an immersion blender to blend a small amount of the soup.
Finally, I tossed in a whole head of spinach (rinsed and de-stemmed), and gave it 2 minutes in the simmering soup to slightly wilt.
At this point, it was already good, but I squeezed a quarter lemon’s worth of juice into the bowl before eating and it was even better (addition of something acidic had worked well when I made black bean soup). I also chopped up some stale bread I had.