I found myself hungry and in a hurry the other night. As usual, I started poking around my pantry and I came across a package of dried lentils I had bought on sale several months ago.
Being from the south, I have to admit that Lentils are a bit foreign to me. Pinto beans, black eyed peas, butter beans and butter peas, crowder peas—I love every form of legume including the peanut, but I’ve only eaten lentils maybe a half dozen times in my entire life. All I had ever heard of was lentil soup, so I made some. It was easy
¼ to ½ of an onion, diced fine
2 cloves garlic, diced very fine
1 carrot, pealed and diced fine
1 stalk of celery, diced fine
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
½ tsp paprika
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1 can beef stock
1 can chicken stock
2-3 cups hot water (you be the judge—got company coming over?)
1 cup (about ½ package) dried lentils
½ cup orzo pasta
Heat the olive oil in a four quart boiler over medium low heat. Add the onion and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the carrot and celery and keep stirring. Now add the garlic and cook until the onions are clear.
Toss in the thyme, the bay leaf, the spices, the beef stock and the chicken stock and turn up the heat to medium. Cook everything for another ten minutes or so until it reaches a low simmer. Now add the lentils and 2 cups of water. Stir it all up, bring it back to a simmer and cover with a lid.
Cook for thirty minutes, stirring occasionally and adjusting the heat so that the mixture doesn’t boil.
When the lentils are tender, add the Orzo pasta and let it all cook for another fifteen minutes. Add a little more water or stock if things get too thick. Taste your soup and add a little kosher salt if you want.
Turn down the heat, ladle out some soup into a bowl, grab some soda crackers, and EAT.
The Redneck Gourmet