Feb 11, 2010

Southwestern Lentil Soup

There was one perfect soup throughout my childhood. When I was sick, this is the soup I craved – forget that old Campbell’s Chicken Noodle. This soup was the vegetable, black bean salsa combination found at AJ Spurs in Buellton, and until today, I thought I’d never taste it anywhere else.

But, I cracked the code.

Thanks to Giada’s bland lentil soup recipe and Trader Joe’s Garlic Salsa, I just made myself a pot of soup that is the perfect replica of the taste I remember from AJ Spurs. I guess I might call it Spaghetti Western Soup, since there are strong Italian influences – but then people would expect spaghetti noodles and be disappointed. --AnglophileinLA

Southwestern Lentil Soup

2 Tb olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
½ Italian sausage (optional)
1 bay leaf
Parmesan rind (optional)
1 can chopped tomatoes, no salt added
1 ¼ C. Lentils – either out of a can or soaked overnight
Salt and a lot of pepper (to taste)
5 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 small potatoes, chopped into small ½ inch pieces
6 fresh thyme sprigs
1 can black beans
½ jar Trader Joe’s Garlic Salsa (or your favorite mild or medium salsa)
A few dashes Worcestershire and Tobasco sauces
1 Tb tomato paste
Freshly grated parmesan (optional)

1. Heat the oil, then add the chopped onions, celery, carrots and garlic. Let sauté until softened, about 8 minutes.
2. Add the ½ Italian sausage, chopped into small pieces.
3. Thrown in the parmesan rind, 1 can chopped tomatoes, lentils, salt and a lot of pepper (I love pepper).
4. Pour in 5 cups of low sodium chicken broth and start peeling off the leaves from the thyme sprigs and add them. Add the chopped potatoes and let simmer for 20 minutes or until the potatoes and lentils are soft.
5. Spoon between 1/4th to ½ of the jar of Garlic Salsa into the soup, followed by a spoonful of tomato paste and a few dashes of Worcestershire and Tobasco sauces to taste.

Note: With any recipe, tasting it a few times throughout the cooking process is vital to a great end result. So pick up a spoon and taste!

2nd Note: If you have some leftover wine in the fridge, add a dash of that too. A little wine never hurts.
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1 comment:

SunFire said...

Oh no, I see a celery in there!?!
Say it aint sooooo!?!?!!?!?!!!!!!!