With all of the business surrounding a house move, it’s easy to forget to eat, let alone cook. If there’s any cooking it involves using up items stored in the pantry or defrosted from the freezer, simply so they won’t be packed. The first time around it’s kind of fun – almost like a pantry food show: Here’s what you have, show us what you’ve got. I made this lentil soup for dinner one night before our move and deliberately froze extras for another meal once we settled in. It’s an extremely simple soup to make with minimal ingredients, yet consistently rewarding in comfort, flavor and heartiness – just the thing to fill up on before unpacking a mountain of moving boxes.
The brown sugar and Madeira add extra richness and depth to the soup. Serve with baguette slices and any cheese you may need to empty from the refrigerator. Serves 4.
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped, about 1 cup
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 large carrots, cut in 1/4-inch dice
1 1/2 cups brown lentils, rinsed and sorted through
6 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon thyme
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon Madeira or Port wine
Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent, 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and carrots; sauté 2 minutes. Add stock, lentils, bay leaf, salt, pepper and thyme. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook until lentils are tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Add sugar and port wine. Simmer another 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Ladle into bowls and serve hot.