best lentil soup recipe (vegetarian)?
i've tried a couple but none are very flavorful...anybody got any good mom's lentil soup recipes?
I keep a batch of from-scratch tomato sauce (totally veggie) in the freezer for pasta dishes, to serve with grilled eggplant, whatever. A half-cup or so of this--it contains garlic, onion, grated carrot, and thyme as well as canned plum tomatoes--makes lentil soup a whole lot more interesting.
I think it depends on your ingredients. I just made some lentil soup with chicken stock and a bunch of smoked/BBQ pork shoulder. It was very good, and very flavorful. I was thinking this morning of making some more out of some smoked chicken breast I have, but got sidetracked doing other things. You could try starting with a ham hock or other pork bone, or incorporating bone in chicken thighs or so. I agree that brown lentils alone can be boring, but there's no need to limit your soup to that....
You can make a soup by starting with sauteed garlic, onions and peppers (green or red or both depending on preference). Once those are tender add vegetable stock (or chicken for non veggie) and i usually like to add ground cumin. It adds a nice smokey flavor. For a non-vegetarian version you can add some hot chorizo.
For veggie lentil soup, I generally start with a couple of diced onions, four or five minced cloves of garlic, and at least a teaspoon of minced fresh ginger. Brown the onions well, then add the garlic & ginger & two or three whole cardamom pods and cook until fragrant. Add chili powder, cumin, black pepper, coriander, the lentils, and water to cover. Simmer until the lentils are tender, then add salt to taste, some additional minced garlic, a handful of chopped cilantro, and a little bit of cider vinegar. Cook until it reaches your desired consistency.
Check out Deborah Madison's lentil soup recipe in "Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone." Her recipe is simple yet divine. She recommends sauteing onion, garlic, carrot, and celery with tomato paste which gives the soup a robust slightly smoky taste (and concetrates the flavors). The recipe is so easy, good, and healthy I never deviate from it!