It’s hard to come down off the high of the show premiere. Not just the excitement around me and the fun I had with my friends who joined me in front my little TV to watch. But seeing how everything got cut together jolted me back into that crazy head space I occupied while filming. After tossing and turning and thinking about the coulda, woulda, shoulda moments – as I had months ago – I got up and took an ambian at 5:30am and finally got some shut eye.
I’m going to channel all those thoughts into a behind-the-scenes post for tomorrow. And hopefully, that will mean I’ll get some sleep tonight, if some enemies tomorrow.
But onto the subject at hand today: this little bowl of lentil comfort is just the kind of thing I like to to eat on a cozy October day for lunch or dinner. I’ve made it a few times this season already. First, for my friends Sarah and Dave to accompany this salad. And twice more for one of my clients whom I cook for every Tuesday. Her seven-year-old daughter is obsessed with this lentil soup, and she requested it again yesterday. My recent spin on it is to stir in coarsely torn baby spinach to up the ante on the healthfulness. The greens casually melt away, but they remain enough to give a nice hint of freshness to what is otherwise a rather heavy-duty pantry soup.
I hope those of you who tuned into the show and the potluck had a great time. But if you’re in need of a little recovery, as I certainly am, there’s nothing like a bowl of soup on a fall evening in front of the TV, so long as you don’t have to watch your own face on it.
October Evening Lentil Soup with Spinach
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion finely diced
- 1 large carrot finely diced
- 1 large stalk celery finely diced
- One 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup French green lentils rinsed and drained
- 6 cups chicken veggie stock, or water
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 handfuls baby spinach leaves coarsely torn
In a large lidded Dutch oven or stockpot, heat the olive over a medium flame. Add the onion, carrot, and celery and saute until soft, about 8 minutes. Carefully pour in the tomatoes. Simmer for 5 minutes, until reduced, pressing down on the tomato chunks with the back of your spatula to crush them.
Stir in the bay leaf, thyme, soy or Worcestershire, lentils, and stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, until the lentils are al dente, about 30 minutes.
Remove cover and skim off any residue from the top of the broth. Stir in the Dijon mustard and salt until well incorporated - it will make the broth slightly creamier and more opaque. Taste for seasoning and add more salt as necessary.
Gently fold in the spinach leaves and cook until soft and wilted, about 2 minutes.
To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and drizzle with a little olive oil. Crusty bread is never a bad thing either.