This is one of our favorite lentil soups. If you've never cooked with red lentils before, they may be a bit harder to find but they are worth the hunt. They cook up softer than green or brown lentils and I think they have a slightly sweet, nutty flavor. Most health food stores carry red lentils these days, including Whole Foods.
This soup recipe is from the cookbook, Soup; Superb Ways with a Classic Dish, and is super easy to make...well beyond mincing up two onions. Get out those swim googles so you don't cry like a baby and risk chopping your fingers. It does take about 90 minutes to cook though, so best to make it on a weekend and eat it as leftovers during the week. It holds up well for about a week and also freezes perfectly...I often make a double batch.
1 ½ cups red lentils, rinsed & drained
2 sweet yellow onions, minced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 large carrot, minced
2 TBS olive oil
2 bay leaves
Generous pinch of dried oregano or marjoram
1 ½ cups vegetable stock
2 TBS red-wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Crusty bread, to serve
Combine first 8 ingredients (up through the stock) in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat then lower and simmer for 1 ½ hours. Stir occasionally to prevent the lentils from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Remove the bay leaves and add the red-wine vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If the soup is too thick, thin it with a bit of extra vegetable stock or water. Serve with warm crusty bread.