The sign of a good soup is how well it goes with a slice of good bread. The one should compliment the other. This soup, from The Daily Soup (a book from the soup restaurant of the same name), passes that test remarkably.
And you better like lentils if you make this soup, because they dominate this dish. The one thing I have learned about lentils is that they are best when they deliver another taste. In this case, garlic, and lots of it.
As with most lentil dishes, this will improve with age as the lentils will imbibe the garlic flavors.
- 1 whole head of garlic
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 large White Onion, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
- 2 Bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 pound of french lentils
- 8 cups vegetable broth
- 1 28-ounce can of whole tomatoes, drained and chopped
- 3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
- 2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/4 Italian Parsley, chopped
Pre-heat your oven to 450 degree F. When it comes to temperature, loosely wrap the head of garlic in aluminum foil and place in oven for 15-20 minutes, allowing it to roast. Remove from the oven, and skin the cloves, placing the cloves into a food processor. Pulse to a near-paste. Set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a stock pot. When it appears to “ripple” in the light (It’s the point right before the oil begins to smoke), add the onions, celery and carrots. Coat the vegetables with the oil and allow to cook in the pot for 5-7 minutes. Add the rosemary, bay leaves, salt and pepper, incorporating them into the vegetables. Allow to cook for 2-3 more minutes.
Add the lentils, broth, tomatoes and tomato paste to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer (175 degrees F), and partially cover with a lid. Allow to simmer for one hour.
After the hour, stir in the roasted garlic past, the minced garlic and balsamic vinegar. Simmer for 2 more minutes in order to have the soup incorporate the new ingredients.
Remove bay leaves and ladle into bowls to serve. Top with chopped parsley.