Yeah, I know we have lentil problems. A lentil fixation. A lentil leaning, as it were. The truth is that lentils may well be the perfect legume, hearty full of all the goodness that the legume family can bring, but so very forgiving because they are so small. Didn’t soak? Bah. Running out of time? Never fear. Lentils are the home cook’s best friend. Lentils are easy, cheap, delicious, nutritious, and friendly to those of us who are a little lacking in the planning department. If you haven’t drunk the kool-aid (and I am speaking purely figuratively here because I really, really don’t want you to drink kool-aid) on lentils with us before, it is high time that you did.
I should back up a bit, pull back from the lentil fanaticism to explain how we’ve landed in legume land again. I was actively seeking a slow cooker soup recipe to share with you. Swim lessons haven’t started again, so I don’t have a NEED for this time saver, but I do so enjoy it and I tell myself that these kinds of recipes are helpful to others, so I was looking for a new one. I purposefully bypassed Deborah Madison, simply because I imagine you are tired of my Madisonic love. So, I pulled out an old favorite.
Eat More, Weigh Less: Dr. Dean Ornish’s Life Choice Program for Losing Weight Safely While Eating Abundantly is a cookbook that was handed off to me years ago. Lo and behold, there was a lentil soup in it that sounded just fabulous. It wasn’t designed for a crock pot, but the great thing about actually being in the house while the slow cooker is on is that you can test to see if a recipe is as slow cooker friendly as you think it might be. And so I proceeded apace, and it wasn’t until I was adding the final ingredients to the Crock Pot that I noted the author of the recipe in Mr. Ornish’s cookbook, Deborah Madison. I think something’s wrong with me. Don’t let my discomfort get in your way. It’s really delicious, and so stinkin’ easy. I made some changes because, as you know, I try not to go to the store for specific recipes and planning eludes me. The original may be even yummier, and you should feel free to check it out.
Creamed Lentil Soup with Celery – almost just like Deborah Madison’s recipe in Dean Ornish’s Eat More, Weigh Less
- 1 1/2 c lentils (brown or green – I used brown because they’re cheaper)
- 1 onion, deiced
- 1 c chopped celery
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed or minced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 c fresh parsley
- 1 1/2 t salt
- 3 1/2 water
- 3 1/2 veggie stock
- 1-2 t Dijon mustard
- 2 t- 1 T red wine vinegar
- pepper to taste
- chopped celery leaves
There really is nothing quite like the instructions on a slow cooker recipe. Sometimes I’ll saute my veggies ahead of time to add some flavor, but since there were no carrots or potatoes this time, I threw caution to the wind and threw it all right in that crock pot – at least everything but the mustard, vinegar, pepper, and celery leaves. Turn on high and allow to cook for about 4-5 hours.
When you’re ready to eat, puree in blender or use an immersion blender ( I truly do love mine, no lie) to blend in the mustard and vinegar. Madison recommends then putting the soup through a food mill to remove lentil hulls… This would have made a creamier soup I’m sure, but that’s WAY to much trouble for my liking. Using a power blender might create a similar level of creaminess. Our slightly textured soup was fabulous. We served it with some fresh baked bread (which I’ve been promising you, but needed to fiddle with- I believe we are there now) and a giant salad. Delish.
A note about the mustard and vinegar… in an unusual move of accommodation, I cut the amount in the soup to increase the likelihood of 6 year old twin participation. It was successful, but I should mention that Mr. Little Sis and I both added more of the mustard and vinegar to our soup at the table. Your palate will have to make the call for you.
I should also mention here that I doubled the recipe and then realized that the total amount would be far more than my simple Crock Pot could accommodate. I dealt with this problem by leaving some liquid out and adding it at the last minute. I would suggest that unless you have a super capacious slow cooker, you stick with the quantity as written OR cook it stove top in a massive vessel.
This post was shared at Wildcrafting Wednesday.