Laura snuck up on me this Christmas. We agreed to not purchase one another gifts, but she went on Ebay anyway and bought me four new (to me) cookbooks. They are Vegetarian For All Seasons, Serving Italy, Asian Flavors and Complete Seasons Cookbook. All of them were put out by Williams-Sonoma, so I know they’re good. Actually, Williams-Sonoma makes some of the best.
When I confronted Laura about her treachery, she replied in a very nonchalant manner. She claimed that since the books were used, the postage probably cost more than the books themselves. I relaxed a bit when I heard this, but felt like a fool for not getting her something just as surprising. Although, I did get her a gift for her birthday, which I thought was very nice.
I’ve already read through the cookbooks quite a bit and have found that, true to the Williams-Sonoma style, the recipes are very high quality, yet really rather simple to prepare. I’ve noticed this a lot in the past with this company. I’m not sure how to explain it better than they’re “simple.” Simple, yet very good. They’re just good – that’s all. That being said, I’m ready to tear into these things and bring some of what I prepare to you via this blog. I’ll start with a soup today.
After preparing this soup, I sat and wondered where in the heck all the flavor came from. I didn’t load anything up with salt and there wasn’t any overwhelming herb or spice that I added. Then, I remembered that I spent some time sauteing the vegetables early on. When I tasted them after cooking, I said, “Mmm, those are good. Nice and sweet.” So, the key with this recipe is the sauteing in the saucepan towards the beginning. If you focus your energy there, the rest will fall into place.
I have to say, this is the perfect January evening dinner. It’s supposed to drop to 5 degrees tonight and -5 tomorrow night. I can’t think of anything better than a hot vegetable soup to enjoy the chilly air with. It’s perfect.
This recipe takes advantage of some core ingredients, such as onion, carrot, celery, potato and sun-dried tomato. Instead of drying my own tomatoes in the oven as suggested by the original creators of this recipe, I chose to purchase some from the grocery store in the jar. The ones I got came in olive oil and include herbs and garlic. The drying time the recipe called for was over 2 hours. Since I didn’t want to commit so much time to the soup, I decided to go with another, easier and time saving, option.
The lentils and the potatoes will fill you up and add texture. All the other ingredients are here for flavor. And flavorful they are – they develop beautifully.
1 1/2 Cups Dried Lentils
3 Tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1 Yellow Onion, Chopped
2 Carrots, Peeled and Chopped
2 Celery Stalks, Chopped
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
6 Cups Vegetable Stock
1 1/2 Pounds Red Potatoes, Cut Into 1-Inch Pieces
2 Teaspoons Dried Rosemary
3 Tablespoons Jarred Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Before I go any further, I’d like to thank Williams-Sonoma for their cookbook called Vegetarian For All Seasons. I enjoyed this soup very much and look forward to other recipes that just as cleverly combine all types of ingredients.
Soak the Lentils
Add the dried lentils to a medium sized bowl and cover with about 2 inches of water. Let soak for 1 hour. After that, drain the lentils.
Sautée the Vegetables
In a large saucepan, add the olive oil. Warm the pot over medium heat. When everything is to temperature, add the onion, carrots, celery, salt and pepper.
Cook the vegetables, while stirring, between 10-15 minutes or until they begin to brown. Be sure they brown, as this is where much of the flavor and sweetness in this soup is derived.
Cook the Soup
Next, add the vegetable stock, the drained lentils, the potatoes and the rosemary to the saucepan and increase the heat on the stove top to high. Bring the liquid to a boil and when it does boil, reduce it to a simmer – usually low to medium-low. Simmer the soup, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
After that, add the sun-dried tomatoes to the pot and stir them into the rest of the soup well. Using a ladle, add some soup to some warm bowls and serve.
The Final Soup
I do love this lentil and vegetable soup. Give it a try and if you do, leave a comment down below to let me know what you think. It’s simple enough and it has some great flavors to it. Thanks for reading!