Lentil Soup with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
A hearty lentil soup is comfort food for anyone with a Mediterranean palate. I make it in many different ways but it’s all variations on the same theme of aromatics (onion, garlic, carrot, celery) sautéed in olive oil and then the lentils are added with stock and cooked until softened. I sometimes add a grain such as rice or barley. Sometimes I add roasted peppers or another vegetable and sometimes I even add thin pasta, broken into small pieces. In this recipe I add roasted cherry tomatoes that add both flavour and colour to the soup. Again, roasted tomatoes are one of the kitchen item that I often have in my fridge, ready to be incorporated into whatever I am cooking. It is however quick and easy to roast the tomatoes so you can do that as you start the cooking and add them to the soup when they are ready. Roasting the tomatoes caramelizes them and brings out complexity of flavour to the soup.
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
A few flakes red hot pepper, optional
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 tablespoon thyme, fresh
1 1/2 cups lentils
6-8 cups vegetable or chicken stock
About 12 cherry tomatoes, red and yellow if you have them
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper
1/3 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
Toss tomatoes with the olive oil, place on a foil covered baking sheet and roast at 375℉ for a few minutes until they collapse and just begin to turn golden. Remove from heat and set aside until ready to use.
Heat olive oil in a soup pot, add onion and cook until soft and translucent but don’t let it brown. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Add thyme, carrot and celery and cook, stirring occasionally for 3-4 minutes until the vegetables begin to soften.
Add lentils, tomatoes and stock and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer, partially cover the pot and cook until lentils are cooked through but still retain some texture and are not mushy, about 30-40 minutes. If the soup looks like more liquid is needed add a cup at a time as needed. When the soup is almost ready add most of the parsley and stir to distribute. Taste and add salt and pepper.
Ladle the soup into soup bowls, garnish with remaining parsley and serve with good country bread and a glass of red wine.