A few winters ago, I spent months learning to make the perfect rice pudding. Another year, I was on a bread pudding kick. What can I say? I like pudding.
It turns out that my mom also fixates on certain dishes and keeps making them until she gets them just right. Last winter, she worked on lentil soup. She eventually created the soup below by combining parts of multiple recipes.
Summer Style Lentil Soup
1 ounce bacon
1/2 cup dried onions
3 garlic cloves
1 cup dried leeks
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup sliced celery
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 parsley sprig
1 tablespoon chopped thyme sprig
8 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups dried lentils (Mom uses red.)
3 strips lemon peel
1 tablespoon white wine
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon chopped chives
Cook bacon in a large soup pot until crisp. Add onion and 2 cloves of garlic that you’ve chopped. Sweat the onion and garlic for 4 to 5 minutes.
Add the leeks, carrots and celery. Cover the pot, and sweat that for 4 to 6 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes.
Tie the bay leaf, parsley, peppercorns and remaining garlic clove in a sachet. Throw that in the pot. Add the broth, lentils and lemon peel. Simmer for 20 minutes.
Remove the sachet and lemon peel.
Add the wine, vinegar, salt and pepper. Garnish with chives and parsley.