Thursday, December 9, 2010

Deborah Madison's Lentil Soup

This is getting serious.

Our bathroom has smelled like a hot Italian sausage for almost a week now. And I am guessing I'm alone in this problem.

Several days ago, I didn't feel much like cooking so I got a bunch of broccoli rabe, some dried pasta, a jar of Rao's marinara sauce (the best jarred pasta sauce ever), and one hot chicken Italian sausage. I boiled water in my rice cooker for the pasta, and set up the electric skillet by the bathroom sink. While the rigatoni plumped in salted water, I cooked the sausage in the skillet and then steamed the greens in their juices. It was a lovely, easy, spicy meal.

The next morning as I made coffee, I noticed that in addition to the familiar smell of nutty, bitter coffee grinds giving off steam in my Chemex coffee pot, that there was also the very strong smell of pork casing, garlic and oil. Yuk.

So I flung open the window, despite this weeks freezing temperatures, and aimed to air the smell out. Well, that did not work and I was left with a freezing cold pot of coffee and a runny nose.

I have tried scented candles, eucalyptus oil, scrubbing down all surfaces, hot showers to steam it out, the window is permanently agape and several batches of chocolate chip cookies baked in the toaster oven. It lingers on.

I am at the end of my rope. As of now, there is an indefinite ban on any sausages or stinky foods, and in order to combat the cold air constantly circulating in the bathroom, a pot of lentil soup was called for. Rich, spicy and warming, never smelly.

This afternoon, if you're wondering what I might be up to? I'll be furiously scrubbing the walls and tiles wearing a pair of hot pink latex gloves. Because you can hide, but you can't run. 

I'll get you yet.

2 tbs. olive oil
2 cups finely diced onion
3 large garlic cloves
salt and freshly milled pepper
3 tbs. tomato paste
 1/3 cup finely diced celery
1/3 cup finely diced carrot
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 1/2 cups French green or brown lentils, sorted and rinsed
1 tbs. Dijon mustard
1 tbs. sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
Chopped celery leaves and parsley

Heat the oil in a soup pot over high heat. Add the onion and saute until it begins to color around the edges, 5 to 7 minutes. Meanwhile mince or pound the garlic in a mortar with 1 tsp. salt. Work the tomato paste into the onion, then add garlic, celery, carrot, bay leaves, and parsley and cook for 3 minutes. Add the lentils, 2 quarts water, and 1/2 tsp. salt and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the lentils are tender, 25 to 35 minutes.

Stir in the mustard and vinegar. Taste and add more of either as needed. Check the salt, season with plenty of pepper, remove the bay leaves and serve, garnished with the celery leaves and parsley. The longer the soup sits before serving the better it will taste.

1 comment:

  1. So is that why you cook in the bathroom? So your clothes won't smell like food?