French Lentil Soup
from My Pantry by Alice Waters
1 and 1/2 cups green lentils (the smallest ones are really good in this soup)
2 T. olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 small carrot, diced
1 small celery stalk, diced
sea salt ad freshly ground pepper
2 large or 3 small garlic cloves, diced or crushed
1 tsp. cumin
3/4 tsp. coriander
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 quarts vegetable stock, or 1 quart water & 1 quart vegetable stock
1 bunch spinach (leaves only) washed, rinsed and roughly torn
Juice of one lemon
basil and or cilantro leaves for topping
Sort and rinse the lentils thoroughly
Pour the oil into a heavy-bottomed pot and heat over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery and saute 5 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and add the garlic, cumin, coriander and cayenne. Stir and cook for a couple of minutes.
Add the lentils and stock along with a couple of pinches of salt. Bring to a boil, skim off froth, and simmer for 25 - 40 minutes until lentils are soft and fully cooked. Stir in the spinach and cook for 2 minutes. Just before serving, add the lemon juice. Top with cilantro/basil leaves and a dash of olive oil and freshly ground pepper.
Winter version: Substitute kale for the spinach, and add roasted chunks of winter squash right before serving.