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Bistro Lentil Soup

May 24, 2010

OK, maybe this isn’t the best thing to make today because–at least in West Michigan–we’re going to have record-breaking temperatures. But spinach is in season and this is a wonderful way to cook with it. This is a simple, elegant soup that exemplifies the adage about the sum being greater than the parts. Try to use French green lentils; they hold their shape better than regular brown lentils. You can get them at specialty food shops.

2 C. French green lentils, or regular lentils
2 t. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
2 C. fresh spinach, stemmed and torn into 1” pieces
1 t. ground cumin
1 t. grated lemon zest
2 C. broth
(You can use vegetable broth or water with vegetable bullion in it, but I’d recommend using chicken broth.)
2 T. chopped fresh cilantro
Salt, to taste
Red or black pepper, to taste.

In a medium pot over medium-high heat, combine lentils with 5 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. Set aside.

While lentils are cooking, in a large soup pot over medium-high heat, warm oil and add garlic and onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until golden. Add spinach and cook, stirring 2 minutes more. Add lentils, cumin, lemon zest, broth, and 2 cups water.

Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Add cilantro and salt, stir, and serve immediately. Serves 4-6

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