Published January 1, 2004.
Does a bowl of lentil soup sound about as inspiring as a serving of instant oatmeal? We set out to put the taste and texture back into this simple dish.
No one who isn't truly, deeply hungry would ask for a second helping of the thin slop or flavorless mud that often passes for this common soup. Even a picture-perfect bowlful of lentil soup can be an illusion because it still may have no flavor whatsoever. Too many versions are either brothy or thick as porridge, with muted colors and flavors.
Brightly colored and flavored soup that is hearty but not too thick, with a subtle, smoky depth from meat.
Don't soak the lentils, but sweat them in a covered pan with aromatic vegetables and bacon prior to adding the liquid to help them hold their shape. Add drained diced tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme, and parsley, all simmered in a combination of chicken broth and water. Puree some of the soup to add body and texture, and finish with a splash of balsamic vinegar.list of recipes