It’s a very fresh day at the lake today. Very windy, with white-capped waves racing endlessly toward the beach. Even though the high is only around 20 degrees Celsius, I don’t really mind. Brilliant sunshine can make up for a lot of things, and besides that, I love the drama of the lake. The water near the shore is tinged with tan from the roiling sand, but further out it’s turquoise and then, closer to the horizon, a deep blue. The whitecaps look like frothy ice caps. What a splendid view as I look up from my cutting board to glance out the window!
I wanted to make a big pot or two of soup at the cottage this year, to have on hand for quick meals that take little effort, and today is the perfect day for it. It’s supposed to get considerably hotter as the week goes by, so I won’t want to do much cooking inside then.
I’ve been thinking about this carrot lentil soup for some time now. I used to make it quite a bit, but then it fell by the wayside as old recipes seem to do. These days, as I’m trying to incorporate more legumes into my diet, I’ve been craving a bowlful of it. The recipe is from Jane Brody’s Good Food Book. I don’t have the book with me, but I did look online yesterday at a couple of versions of the recipe while we were on the way to the nearby town to pick up a few things. We have no Internet or phone service at the cottage (how’s that for getting away from it all?!) so today I’m going by memory. And from what I’ve tasted, my memory has served me well!
This is a hearty soup, with lots of carrot and the earthy taste and rich texture of the lentils. Thyme and marjoram add flavour, the thyme deep and earthy, the marjoram bright and fresh. (I’ve always used dried herbs before, but today I only had fresh and they worked out well; usually it’s the other way around!). The real secret to the final flavour of this soup is the 6 ounces of dry white wine added at the very end. It’s amazing how that transforms and brightens the whole big potful. I used to top the soup with shredded cheddar cheese, which is very tasty, not to mention adding the pleasure of gooey strings stretching off the spoon, but here we’re enjoying it just fine without.
Carrot Lentil Soup
- 2 tbsp canola or sunflower oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 or 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 3 large carrots, finely chopped
- 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 1 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes
- about 4 cups vegetable stock
- 1-1/2 cups lentils, picked over and rinsed
- 4 cups water, plus more later if you find the soup too thick
- a handful of thyme sprigs (or 1-1/2 tsp dried)
- about 2 tbsp chopped fresh marjoram (or 1-1/2 tsp dried)
- freshly ground pepper to taste
- salt to taste
- 3/4 cup white wine
Add the onions and garlic to the oil over low heat, and let sweat while you prepare the other vegetables, stirring occasionally. Add the carrots and celery, stir and let sweat for a few minutes. Add the tomatoes, stock, water and prepared lentils. Stir in the thyme and marjoram, along with pepper and salt. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 45 minutes,or until the carrots are tender and the lentils cooked but not mushy. Before serving, stir in the white wine.
We enjoyed this soup today with toasted nine grain bread. I’m looking forward to carrying some down to our chairs on the beach later this week, to enjoy as a nice lunch under the shade of our umbrellas.
While I’m lounging about there, maybe I can figure out how to insert photos into my posts where I want them, instead of just at the end! I’m writing on my iPad, and then uploading my posts when we drive up to the highway for supplies or to go out for a meal. (Okay, sometimes I drive up to the highway just for an internet fix; sad but true.) The app is great, except for this one little issue that I haven’t mastered yet!