If you couldn't tell from my previous posts, I am a big fan of cooking soup. To me, one of the great things about cooking soup is trying different things and fine-tuning your soup into a masterpiece (at least in your own mind). This soup is no different.
Lentil and vegetable soup was one of the more challenging recipes I feel I have mastered. I tried this soup a couple of different times but there always seemed to be something missing. I couldn't quite put my finger on the secret ingredient but something was lacking.
Something was lacking that is until I decided to add whole peppercorns. You wouldn't think this simple addition would change the soup that much but it did. For some reason, the taste of the peppercorns really brings all the flavors together.
If this soup sounds good to you, try out this recipe and let me know how it tastes. As always, I recommend adding the same ingredients I use but then fine-tuning it to fit your tastes. The recipes I post on this site are to give you an idea where to start but it is up to you to make them your own.
Lentil and vegetable soup
Forgive me for not having many pictures for this one. I took pictures the first time I tried the recipe this summer but didn't think it was quite worthy to be written about and lost them somewhere. I will try to take more the next time I prepare it.
To start the soup, round up some veggies from the fridge or the garden. My favorite veggies to use in this soup are corn, green beans, red potatoes, tomato chunks, onions and carrots. I start with the equivalent (best if ingredients come from the garden) of a can of each and then add more depending on how much soup I want to make. Chop up all the veggies into bite sized pieces.
Once the veggies are chopped up, add them to a big pot that has four cups of water in it plus 8-10 peppercorn flakes, 2 teaspoons of salt, 2-3 tablespoons of basil/oregano and one tablespoon of thyme. Let the veggies cook awhile until the water starts boiling.
Once the water starts to boil, add a can of tomato sauce (leave out if you want more of a beef broth soup) and 3 cups of beef broth (one more if you didn't add tomato sauce) to the mix. Bring the mixture back to a boil and then let the soup simmer for at least an hour stirring occasionally.
Once the soup has cooked for an hour, add 2 cups of lentils to the mix. When you add the lentils make sure you watch the soup because the lentils will soak up a lot of the liquid. You may have to add another cup or two of water depending on how thick you want your soup.
Once the lentils are added, cook them for twenty minutes or until they are soft to your liking. Once they are done, try the soup and add more of whatever it needs. If you had to add water, you may want to throw in another cup of beef broth or maybe some more salt or spices.
Another ingredient that I like to throw into my lentil and veggie soup is barley. If you want to try this, throw in the barley (after it is prepared per the directions on the package) when the lentils go in. This extra ingredient will make the soup into that much hardier of a meal!
Please comment if you tried this recipe. I would love to hear if you liked it or not.