Tea soup: week two
Today I made this soup. I found the recipe in the local paper on New Year's Eve. It's very good. It can be a vegan meal if you use veggie broth in place of the chicken broth. Since I had leftover stock in my freezer from the turkey I made on Thanksgiving that's what I used. Considering that the only fat is from the broth and oil this is a very low fat hearty soup. Don't let that fool you into thinking it's not filling. I made a grilled cheese to go along with the soup and was quite pleased.
Tomato Lentil Soup
4 bay leaves
8-10 branches fresh thyme
7 whole cloves
¼ teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
In a square of cheesecloth make a bouquet garni of above ingredients. Secure with kitchen twine. Set aside.
4 medium onions, chopped
2 large stalks celery, chopped
2 teaspoons Salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
6 large cloves garlic, minced
1 pound red lentils, rinsed
7 cups chicken or veggie broth (4 14oz cans or 56 ounces)
4 generous Tablespoons tomato paste
2 28oz. cans whole tomatoes, pureed *see important note below
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup tightly packed fresh basil torn
Water as needed to maintain consistency
*Do not use canned puree. Purees often have been thickened with poor quality tomato paste which can give the soup a metallic taste.
Generously film the bottom of a 10-12 quart pot with olive oil. Heat pan over medium-high and add the onions and celery. Sauté until onions are just beginning to brown, 5 minutes. Add the salt, pepper, garlic, lentils, broth, enough water to cover lentils by two inches and bouquet garni. Simmer over medium low about 20 minutes, or until the lentils have practically dissolved. While the soup simmers puree whole tomatoes in their juices until smooth. Add tomato paste, ground allspice and cinnamon. Pulse until combined. Set aside.
Taste soup. Add additional seasoning if needed. Stir in the tomato puree mixture. Simmer another 20 minutes, partially covered. If the soup is too thick add a little water. Its consistency should be like heavy cream. Remove from heat stir in basil and serve. Great served with a squeeze of fresh lemon or with dollops of sour cream or plain yogurt.