We came together in love and, on a whim, decided we needed to make my grandmother's lentil soup. This soup is one of my mother's most favorite dishes that my grandmother used to make. She told me that whenever she would go home my grandma would ask, "What can I make you?" Without hesitation my mom always said, "Lentil soup!"
This story makes a lot of sense because we ate the heck out of lentil soup when I was a kid. I love it. I don't think I ever had my grandmother's, though, which is what made cooking this soooooo special. My grandmother was a fabulous cook, and there is no better way to channel her memory than to get behind a stove and make something! We pulled out the family cookbook, poured over it, made just a couple of tweaks (like adding some pancetta!) and before we knew it, we had lentil soup.
You wanna know what is great about lentils? They aren't like other [bothersome] beans that don't want to cook up and get tender. If you have an hour to an hour and a half, you've got lentil soup. Now how does that sound? Terrific right?! I KNOW!
Best of all, this is a very basic recipe that is hearty, and gives you a great big hug. If you like a more brothy lentil soup, add an extra cup of water and an additional cup of chicken broth. I like mine nice and thick. But to each their own. As a side note, I ate this whole pot of soup in a week. Maybe I will make some more and eat it ALLLLLLLL up. No sharing. Hehe.
Grandma's Lentil Soup Recipe
Time: 1-1 1/2 hrs start to finish | Makes 6 servings | Difficulty: Easy
You Will Need:
4 ounces pancetta (or any ham, cut up real small)
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, cut small
2 celery stalks, cut small
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound lentils
1/2 can (about 2 tablespoons) tomato paste
3 cups chicken broth
3 cups water
Olive oil, once around the pan
In a big old soup pot, add the olive oil and heat over medium high heat. Add the pancetta, onion, carrots, celery and garlic and sauté about 5 minutes.
Add your lentils, tomato paste, chicken broth, and water. Bring it all to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about an hour or until the lentils are soft and yummy. (Remember, if you want it to be a more brothy, you can add another cup of water and broth.)
I like to serve mine piping hot over a bed of fresh spinach. The soup wilts the spinach and it's just so delightful.
Garnish with parmesan cheese if you please!
This also freezes well if you want to make a double batch!