Makes 6-8 servings
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, diced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced into coins
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 16-ounce bag brown or green lentils
2 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
2 bay leaves
6 to 8 cups chicken stock (look for reduced sodium)
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 14-ounce can chickpeas, drained
Sea salt and pepper
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Parmesan cheese, freshly grated, for serving
1. Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven. Add the onion, carrots, and celery (known in the culinary world as mirepoix, a basic building block of flavor) and cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, rinse the lentils (remove any small stones), then place them in the pot with the garlic, bay leaves, and 6 cups chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook until almost tender, 25 to 30 minutes, skimming off the foam occasionally.
3. Add the tomatoes to the pot and stir well. Simmer until nice and soupy, about 10 minutes.
4. Add the chickpeas, sea salt, and pepper to taste, and simmer for about 10 minutes longer, adding extra stock as necessary.
5. Stir in the chopped parsley and ladle into soup bowls. Serve with grated Parmesan.
Notes: Lentils from Abruzzi or Umbria in Italy or Puy in France are best, but regular supermarket lentils will do.