Looking in my fridge and freezer, apparently all I’ve made for weeks are soups and stews and chilis. It’s getting cold (maybe it just IS cold?) and soup is warming. This soup is based on a recipe title I read a year or so ago, possibly on a can. I can’t remember where, and I never could find it again. All I had was “lentil chestnut” and it sounded good.
I figured this would be a quick and easy soup if I used canned lentils and packaged chestnuts, both of which I usually have on hand, and my standard trio of soup vegetables: onions, carrots, and celery. I also used homemade stock, as I try to do, because frankly, mine tastes better.
This soup is hearty because of the lentils, a bit sweet because of the chestnuts, and full of vegetables for flavor, texture, and, hey, nutrition. I even had a lentil naysayer taste the soup, and it got a general approval. My vegetables were rather giant in relation to the chopped chestnuts and tiny lentils, and if that will bother you, consider chopping everything more finely. I kind of liked it, and it made for more interesting photographs (so did having a better camera to play with).
Vegetable Lentil Chestnut Soup
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onion (about 1/2 onion)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup chopped carrot (three small carrots)
- 1 cup chopped celery (2 larger stalks)
- 1 teaspoon chopped garlic (2 cloves)
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dill
- 1/2 teaspoon tarragon
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
- 5 oz cooked and shelled chestnuts, chopped (this is the size of package I can buy around here — cook and shell your own, if you like, but be warned, it’s more work than you think it will be!)
- 2 cups cooked lentils — any type you like except red, which will not hold their shape. I used black.
- 3 cups of vegetable broth, preferably unsalted. Add your own salt.
In a large sauce pan, over medium heat, add the oil to a hot pan. When the oil is shimmering hot, add the onion and salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent (about 5 minutes). Add the carrots and cook for 2-3 minutes. Do the same with the celery.
Now season: Add the garlic and stir well. Then add the spices and stir again. Give it a minute to heat up — this seems to let the garlic really permeate this base of the soup.
Add the chestnuts and lentils, stir, and then add the vegetable broth. Cover and bring to a boil. There are two ways to do this. If you’re feeling patient, leave the heat at medium and let it come up to a boil slowly. This is great for flavor, but honestly, not enough to insist that this is the right way to do it. You can also just turn the heat up to boil it fast. Either way, after you’ve had a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.