When my husband and I visited France in May of 2008, one of the things we brought home was a package of small French lentils. I can't believe I haven't used them until now! I went ahead and made lentil soup with them, and they were great! So is this simple vegetarian soup recipe. The mushrooms make it extra hearty. I made a couple of modifications, such as increasing the amount of salt, adding dried thyme and doubling the garlic.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, cut into thin rings (I cut the onion in half first, then sliced it thinly)
1 clove garlic, minced (I used two cloves)
1 cup dry green (French) lentils, rinsed and drained
1 lb. whole white button mushrooms, quartered
4 medium carrots, thinly sliced (2 cups)
2 stalks celery, chopped
4 cups water
14 oz. vegetable broth
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. coarse salt (I used 3/4 tsp.)
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1) In a 4-quart Dutch oven or soup pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until onion is tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in lentils and cook for 1 minute.
2) Add mushrooms, carrots, celery, water, vegetable broth, thyme, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, about 30 minutes or until lentils are tender. Enjoy!
A side note: I received the cute apron below from a friend last week for my birthday. It reads, "Pour. Drink. Repeat." Good advice! I was indeed enjoying a glass of red wine (Dreaming Tree Cabernet Sauvignon, given to me by another friend) while preparing the lentil soup. With the soup, we had French rolls which we dipped in Tuscan herb olive oil, which was given to me by yet another friend along with some delicious aged balsamic vinegar. Apparently, this year's birthday took on a culinary theme! My husband gave me two lovely gifts: a serrated Wusthof knife to add to my collection, and a set of All-Clad measuring cups and spoons. I love everything kitchen-related, so I was one happy birthday girl.