I read a few years ago that making and of course eating lentil soup on new year’s eve is thought, in Italy, to bring health and good fortune. While I’m not Italian, I do love the food and traditions. With the weather in New England being quite cold lately I figured “why not?’, it’s healthy, hearty and warming!
The recipe I followed is from one of my favorite cookbooks called Conscious Cuisine by Chef Cary Neff (find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Conscious-Cuisine-Neff/dp/1570719268 , you’ll love it too!)
Spicy Lentil Soup -Chef Cary Neff
Makes 12 1-cup servings; 170 calories per serving
1/4 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion (about 1 large)
1 cup chopped, peeled carrots (about 2 medium)
1 cup chopped celery (3 medium ribs)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 cups lentils (about 1 pound), washed
1 28-ounce can diced, stewed tomatoes in their juice
8 cups Vegetable Stock
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon chile powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Heat a medium stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic. Cook until the onion has softened, about 2 minutes.
Stir in the lentils, tomatoes, stock, bay leaf, cayenne, chile powder, cumin, paprika, basil, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until the lentils have softened, about 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaf before serving.