Lentil Soup

I adapted this tasty, thick, vegetarian soup from Cook’s Illustrated, January and February 2004. Although Cook's does not recommend using red lentils, I find the rose color and delicate flavor very appealing. I like to serve it partially puréed, you can either leave the lentils whole or make the whole batch very smooth, according to your taste.


(makes about 2 quarts, serves 4 to 6)

Heat olive oil in large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onions and carrots; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes, bay leaf, and thyme; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in lentils, salt, and pepper to taste; cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes. Uncover, increase heat to high, add wine, and bring to simmer. Add vegetable broth and water; bring to boil, cover partially, and reduce heat to low. Simmer until lentils are tender but still hold their shape, 30 to 35 minutes; discard bay leaf.

Purée 3 cups soup in blender (or in the same pot, partially puré with an immersion blender) until smooth, then return to pot; stir in vinegar and heat soup over medium-low until hot, about 5 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons parsley and serve, garnishing each bowl with some of remaining parsley. The soup can be made in advance. After adding the vinegar, cool the soup to room temperature and refrigerate it, covered, for up to 2 days. To serve, heat it over medium-low heat until hot, then stir in the parsley.

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