January 2, 2010

New Year's Day lentil soup with mint

It is said that lentils bring luck when eaten on New Year's Day. So for our New Year's Day dinner with some family, I made this lentil soup which I adapted from a recipe in this cookbook. I usually make a more spicy lentil soup, but this soup is mild with the fresh taste of tomatoes and mint.

Lentil soup with tomatoes and mint
2 cups dry lentils (I used the green ones)
4 cups vegetable stock
4 cups water
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground sage
1/8 teaspoon red pepper
1 large red onion, diced
2 stalks celery, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, diced
1 16 oz can diced tomatoes
sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped

For garnish (optional)
1 cup Greek-style plain yogurt
juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped

First rinse your lentils and check for stones, etc. Then, in a large soup pot or dutch oven cook the lentils with the stock, water, bay leaf, thyme, sage, and some salt for about one hour. Heat olive oil in a skillet and cook the onion, garlic, carrot, and celery until the onions are translucent and the vegetables are all beginning to soften. Add the vegetables to the lentils along with the tomatoes. Add salt, red pepper, and black pepper. Simmer for about another 15-20 minutes, or until serving time. Remove bay leaf.

If you would would like to have the creamy, cool yogurt garnish, simply mix all the ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate until serving. Place a spoonful (or two) on top of your bowl of lentil soup just before serving.

Happy New Year!

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