This time of year is fast and furious. Mostly fast and less furious, I suppose, on account of the fact that Elf plays on loop on the cable tv. Elf is good. Zooey Deschanel as a blond doesn’t seem entirely right, though. It doesn’t make me furious, but I’m just saying.
Fast! We’re only four days in, but December is already flying by. Whoosh! It was just Thanksgiving a minute ago. Whoooooosh! Now it’s pretty much Christmas.
Buy your presents! Clean the house! Bake the cookies! Finish your projects and dust your mantles and pack for traveling and wrap everything everywhere and can I get free shipping with that and are you sure it will get there in time and don’t forget the cookies!!
Whoa. All of the fast needs to just go ahead and slo-o-ow. Let’s forget about the presents and the cleaning and the traveling and the projects and just take a minute to breathe. To admire the twinkly lights on the coffee shop door and the smell of peppermint lattes. To sit with Ben. To be here, on December fourth. To wear our warmest socks and crack open the window and cozy up with a steamy bowl of hearty soup.
Good. Let’s get cozy. Elf is on.
French Lentil Soup
This soup is clean and simple and takes less than an hour to come together. Deep with flavor from the sausages, vegetables, lentils, and a hit of balsamic vinegar towards the end of cooking, this soup is one you’ll want in your back pocket on a chilly December day. Take note: the soup’s flavors meld and deepen after a night or two in the fridge. It also freezes well, so feel free to make a big batch for easy re-heat suppers for months to come.
Adapted from Bon Appetit, December 2006
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 or 2 chicken sausages, finely chopped
- 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
- 4 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 1/2 cups green lentils, picked over for rocks and quickly rinsed with cold water
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 28-ounce jar diced tomatoes in juice
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 big handfuls fresh baby spinach
- salt and pepper, to taste
Heat a large pot or 2-quart dutch oven over a medium-high flame. Add the olive oil to the pot. Once oil is hot, add the sausages and cook until nicely browned. Next, add the onion, celery and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally, until veggies have softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, oregano, and a bit of salt and pepper and cook 1 minute more.
Add the lentils, chicken stock, and tomatoes (including juice), and bring to a boil. Reduce the flame to medium-low, cover the pot and simmer soup until lentils are tender, about 35 minutes.
Stir in the balsamic and spinach, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm, with hunks of fresh bread for dipping.
Makes about 8 cups soup.