Eli’s Lentil Soup

Last week I went on vacation in Maine.  It was wonderful, we were in Greenville (the head of Moosehead Lake) and spent the better portion of the time reading and cooking (well I was reading and cooking, Boyfriend was video gaming and coding).  But the best part of the vacation? We were with our best friends from college and their two year old son (our godson).  Their Son, named Eli, loves lentils so I brought some and one night for a quick meal we made this soup.

My favorite part of lentil soup is its simplicity.  The satisfaction of creating a soup with onions and cheap dried goods is truly awesome, and all I can think is that I really should have played with lentils sooner than March of this year.  The simplicity of Lentil Soup really leant itself to this particular kitchen adventure because Eli wanted to help which meant more time making sure chubby adorable fingers don’t get burned and less time checking measurements and trying to be exact.  So we made soup, best friend did most of the heavy cutting and Eli added all the spices and did some key stirring for us.

Eli loved the soup so much he ate 3 bowls worth (about 2 cups).  Which I took as a rave review, because let’s face it – there’s no one pickier than a 2 year old with discerning tastes.  The adults in the house followed the soup up with instant gratification yellow cake with chocolate frosting (delicious)  and a viewing of The Fifth Element.

Eli’s Lentil Soup
Note: I think this would translate well to a cold soup with an addition of about 1 more cup of stock or water to thin it a bit.  Also the sausage/bacon in optional and its very easy to substitute in vegetable stock for the chicken for a vegetarian soup.

1 medium onion chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
1/2 cup celery chopped
1/2 red pepper chopped
1 small zucchini (optional) chopped coarsely
2-3 slices thick cut bacon cut into small strips or 2 oz sausage skinned and broken up (optional)
4 cups stock (vegetable of chicken works)
2 cups water (add another for cold soup)
2 cups lentils (I use 1 cup French and 1 cup red but it doesn’t matter)
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp basil
1 tsp thyme, or use 2-3 fresh stalks for an even better flavor.
Salt and Pepper to taste

If you are using it cook your bacon or sausage in your soup pot.  Add the onion, garlic, and celery to the pot and saute them for 2-3 minutes (until the onion is transparent).  Add the pepper and cook it until soft (another minute or so).  Add the stock and let it come to boil, don’t get impatient here the boiling stock makes a difference.  Once the stock has come to a boil add your lentils, stir, and leave it alone for about half an hour.  Go have a dance party with your godson to Lady Gaga, because that’s what the cool kids are doing.  Check the soup if the lentils are starting to soften toss in the zucchini and cook for another 10-15 mins or until the zucchini is cooked through.  Serve the soup!  This is delicious with a big slice of crusty bread to dip in it.  YUM!  Enjoy your soup and then let the dance party continue, maybe with some music from GLEE!

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