Thursday, November 27, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Lentil Soup!

I can't believe that I can make my mom's lentil soup!

Lentil Soup!

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(Photo by Nicko Margolies)

As the weather turned cold, there is nothing I wanted more than my mom’s homemade lentil soup! It’s days like this I wish Philly wasn’t miles away. I know what some of you are thinking--lentil soup is bland and tasteless-- not this one! It’s really delicious and filling (with chickpeas and lentils for protein!)

 

My mom’s recipe calls for 6 cups of chicken stock. I went grocery shopping Sunday night and I almost  bought chicken broth, then realized that chicken stock and chicken broth are two different things. Mother dearest, could you please elaborate for me the difference between these two? I ended up buying one carton of Kitchen Basics chicken stock and green French lentils from Whole Foods.  

 

I got home from work Monday night and got right to work. Usually my roommates are around when I’m cooking and can give me pointers, but they were both out. I was very nervous- officially all on my own! I used a very fine strainer to rinse the lentils—so they wouldn’t fall through the holes. I rinsed in cold water until no more bubbles appeared as I was rinsing—probably about a minute.  Then I measured 1 cup and ¼ of lentils and poured them into a sauce pan. Then I chopped up the 2 garlic cloves and threw them in along with the 2 bay leaves. Finally I added the whole carton of chicken stock, which was about 4 cups. I know the recipe calls for 6—but that was all I’d bought so I had to go with it…  I stirred that a bit and let it simmer on low heat for 30 minutes.

 

Meanwhile, I started washing, peeling, and chopping up the carrots .  I washed and chopped the celery and onion as well.  When the timer on the lentils had 22 remaining, I added 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a bigger sauce pan, let the oil heat up, then added the veggies to the pot.  I’d timed it perfectly, the veggies were to simmer for 20 minutes and that is how much time the lentils had left as well! Things were going perfectly! I thought, hey I am really getting the hang of this!

 

Welp,  Guess what? I spoke to soon. I went to rinse the chickpeas - only to realize — I didn’t have any!!!!!!! DISASTER. I of course had every other type of bean in my pantry, even though I could have SWORN I’d bought them a week ago. Anyway, I had 20 min, plenty of time to literally run to the little market around the corner. I did not account for having to dodge trick-or-treaters (which I injured my knee doing). But do not worry, I made it there and back in 19 min! (NOTE: Sara was home by this point so I did  not leave a stove on and no one home, don’t worry).

 

Once I caught my breath,  I rinsed and drained the chickpeas and set the strainer aside. I had to transfer the cooked lentils into the pot of veggies. I used two hands and poured pretty slowly. It really wasn’t that difficult. Next, I added the chickpeas, salt and pepper. I didn’t have fresh parsley, so I looked up the conversion of fresh to dried spices: 1 tablespoon of fresh equals 1 teaspoon of dried. So, I added 1 teaspoon of dried parsley. At this point, I realized, I probably needed to add 2 cups of water to give it a more soup like consistency.  I called Sara to the kitchen again to get her opinion. She agreed. So, I added two more cups of water, mixed it together and let it all simmer for another 10 min.

 

That was it!!  I grated some Parmesan cheese, and let the soup cool (while we took pictures) and... delicious! Perfect meal for a cold fall or winter day! This is definitely a recipe for the ages.   

 

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About this blog

Maureen Fitzgerald, Inquirer food editor, has been cooking dinner for 30 years. Her blog started with teaching her daughter, but has been continuing for the past two years with school children, this fall with fifth graders from Russell Byers Charter in Phila. The program continues to expand with 32 volunteers teaching 75 children in 15 classes this fall in Phila and Camden, in partnership with the Vetri Foundation for Children.

Reach My Daughter's at mfitzgerald@phillynews.com.

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