Thursday, January 21, 2010

We're back!

When 2010 hit (Welcome to the food-ture!) and I realized I'd neglected to share my homemade meals with you all for over a month, I decided a resolution was needed: at least one posting a month! I'm sure that between my job cooking at the restaurant, sleeping, spending time with Danimal, cleaning the house, staying connected with friends, getting adequate exercise, reading my book, and trying to relax (ommmm...), there ought to be some time left for "What Color..."!

Today after hitting the gym I threw together a delicious and easy French lentil soup. Lentils are an amazing kind of legume that require no soaking, very little cooking time, and that are so tasty you can cook them in water and the finished liquid will taste like a rich vegetable stock. Plus, these fancy little beans weigh in at about $1.50 a pound, so they're great for living on the cheap.
French Lentil Soup
(makes about 6 cups)

- 2 tbsp. butter or olive oil (or a mix)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup diced onion (about 1/2 medium onion)
- 1 red chile pepper, deseeded and minced
- 1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
- 2 cups French lentils (or brown, green, black, red... pick your poison)
- 6 cups water
- 1 28-oz can organic crushed tomatoes
- 1 bouquet garni: small bunch thyme, 2 bay leaves, 5 peppercorns (bundled together in cheesecloth)
- 1/4 cup picked thyme leaves
- salt and pepper to taste

1. Set a large, thick-bottomed pot over medium-high heat and add the cooking oil/butter. Once hot, add the garlic and onion and a pinch of salt and stir until fragrant and translucent. Add the chile pepper and cook, stirring, a minute longer. Then add the sweet potato, cover the pot, and let cook 3-5 more minutes.
2. Stir in lentils, water, tomatoes, and drop in the bouquet garni. Bring to a boil and lower to simmer. Leave simmering, partially covered, for 30-45 minutes, until the lentils are fully cooked and the soup has thickened to the desired consistency.
3. Remove from heat, stir in the thyme leaves, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately, or allow to cool and store in refrigerator up to a week or freezer up to a month!

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