Friday, November 15, 2013

Lentil Soup

As you can tell, I am on a serious soup kick!  Partly because it is that time of year, but also because I have been teaching my students some pretty intense stuff and I believe that all need the rejuvenating properties that soup provides.  I'm feeding their brains and their stomachs.... I also have several vegetarian students and want to make sure they are happy too so I have been making one meat based soup and one vegetable based soup daily.  I'll finish posting all the recipes soon and the recipes have also been requested by the students so they can make them at home.  

This was the favorite of several of the vegetarian students (although I usually make it with chicken broth) and I left it chunky since I have cooked so many creamy soups this week.  However, it is also very good made smooth with a stick blender, if desired.  Lentils are a really nutritious pulse with a high protein content and this soup can be seasoned many ways - it holds up to curry powder and Middle Eastern spices too. I made it with a simple combination of onions, carrots and celery along with canned tomatoes, basil and bay leaf.  Once assembled, it can't be easier - just wait about 45 minutes and you will have a delicious and hearty soup - perfect for a cold fall day!

Lentil Soup

2 cups brown lentils, rinsed and picked through to remove any possible stones

1 large onion minced
2 large carrots, trimmed, peeled and cut into a small dice
2 large stalks of celery, trimmed and cut into a small dice
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 can (14.5 oz) chopped tomatoes
8 - 10 cups Vegetable Broth (can also use Chicken Broth) depending on how thick you like it
1 teaspoon dried Thyme
1 - 2 Bay Leaves
Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper to taste

Optional:  Hot Sauce, such as Tabasco or Harissa for serving

In a large soup pot, heat olive oil and add in the onions, garlic, carrots and celery and cook until vegetables are wilted.  Pour in the canned tomatoes, the vegetable broth and the herbs. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer.  Cook for 45 minutes and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Remove bay leaves and serve with crusty garlic bread.

Five Element Analysis

Lentils are pulses, which belong to the Earth Element and the color also gives that away.  The carrots add even more Earth.  The onion, garlic and herbs add the Metal Element.  As a soup, this has some of the Water Element present intrinsically.  The Fire Element is represented by the Tomatoes and the Hot Sauce, if you use it and the Wood Element is present in the vegetable or chicken broth and is enhanced even more by the side of garlic bread. This soup then becomes a balanced Five Element Meal.

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