Savory Spanish Lentil Soup
I have loved lentils ever since I was introduced to them as a college junior living in Barcelona, Spain. The señora at our boarding house cooked them up every couple weeks for an appetizer course, which we cranked up to our dining room using the dumb waiter from the bottom floor of the four story former nun’s convent.
Lentils and a chaw of hearty Spanish bread. Yum.
The first time I stared at my soup bowl of lentils though, we “Americanas” as we were called informally (the American girls), all puzzled at them a few minutes until one of our Spanish friends supplied the name “lentajas.” Lentils. I suspect we went about tasting them gingerly, but soon they became a welcome and warming soup for most of us on chilly winter days.
But I digress. This is not about my year in Barcelona, which I cover quite well in one of my first books, Departure.
Recently I had wonderful pork broth left over from the pork roast I posted earlier. The week before the kids came home for Thanksgiving, I cooked up a huge pot of lentils. I had in mind using up my new pork broth, as well as the piddles of savory stuff left after browning our almost weekly favorite Gunnoes sausage, and saved in the freezer for such a time as this.
This soup takes about an hour to cook, but is well worth the simmering time, which you can taste and enjoy throughout the low bubbling! My husband and one grandson even seemed to enjoy the pot of lentils thoroughly, although hubby said it’d be good with a few additional vegetables tossed in. That would work too!
This version is more savory than previous batches I’d made because of the large amount of pork and sausage broth I used; no actual meat, just the broth.
Lentil Soup adapted from various recipes on FoodNetwork.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 ¼ cup dry lentils
11 cups chicken broth (or not, use as much as you want. I used a combo of about 8 cups chicken, beef and pork broth in this most recent pot)
1 can diced tomatoes (or in my case, 1 quart home canned tomatoes)
4-6 sprigs fresh thyme (or dried)
Wash dry lentils and rinse. Set aside.
Chop veggies and garlic and brown for 3-5 minutes in olive oil in 5-quart Dutch oven type kettle.
Add broth, lentils, canned tomatoes, and seasonings.
Bring to boil. Lower heat to keep it simmering for 50-60 minutes.
World’s Healthiest Foods website has this to say about lentils:
Lentils, a small but nutritionally mighty member of the legume family, are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber. Not only do lentils help lower cholesterol, they are of special benefit in managing blood-sugar disorders since their high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising rapidly after a meal. But this is far from all lentils have to offer. Lentils also provide good to excellent amounts of seven important minerals, our B-vitamins, and protein—all with virtually no fat. … Just 230 calories for a whole cup of cooked lentils.
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