Sunday, July 13, 2008

An Easy Lentil Soup - Baby food for the Soul

I may have created a monster.  I swore early on that I would not make Aiden eat food that I wouldn't eat myself.  I've stayed true to this promise....for the most part.  I did break out the jarred baby food a couple of times when traveling but mostly he's been raised on the homemade stuff and real-deal adult food that is baby-friendly because he is always more interested in what's on our plate than what's on his plate.  With in a month, Aiden had a discerning palate and didn't want anything but real food.  So the challenge was to made food that my 30 something husband and my 9 month old baby would both eat.  Soup, beautiful soup, pleases them both.  

This lentil soup is based on Mark Bittman's Classic Lentil Soup in "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian".  It might just be the perfect bowl of soup.  It takes 30 minutes to make.  It is  nutritious.  Blended, it is the perfect vehicle for sneaking chard, broccoli, zucchini into Baba's diet.  

1 cup brown lentils
1 bay leaf
2 big pinches of dried thyme (or several sprigs of fresh)
1 carrot, cut in 1/2 inch dice
1 celery stalk, cut in 1/2 inch dice
6 cups vegetable stock
salt/pepper to taste
2 Tbls olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 clove garlic, minced
a couple of handfulls of spinach, chard (de-stemmed), roughly chopped (Optional)

1.  Bring lentils, bay leaf, thyme, carrot, celery, stock, salt and pepper (to taste) to boil in a large pot over high heat.  Set heat to low and cook, stirring occassionally, for 30 min or until lentils are tender. 
2.  Meanwhile, prep onion and garlic.  Then saute onion in a skillet over medium heat until soft (5 min).  Add garlic and cook another minute.  
3.  Once the onions are cooked, add mixture to the cooking lentils which should be finishing up the last 10 minutes or so.  Toss in the greens.  Make sure they have wilted before turning off the heat.

4.  Let the soup cool.  Puree soup (using either an immersion blender or a regular blender).

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