Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Caramelized Onion Lentil Soup

The cold and damp weather here practically demands comfort food, and what better than a bowl of Caramelized Onion Soup? Simple and wholesome with a bit of an unexpected kick from Aleppo Pepper, it's nutritious, tasty and a perfect work from home (or not) lunch.

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 March is such an in-between month. On one hand, we've had temperatures up to 18C and lots of sun some days, and then there's days like today when it's cold and rainy. Add in the inevitable "last month of class" stress, March Break (with the littles visiting daily), birthdays and appointments, and it seems like we never get a chance to sit down, much less relax. Comfort food has definitely been on the table more often than not, especially big bowls of soup like this one. While not exactly a 90 second microwaveable meal, the time spent to caramelize the onions so that they're sticky and sweet followed by the hour of lazy cooking is quite cathartic, and you're rewarded with many meals that you can pack for lunches or heat up if you (like me) work from home.

Caramelized Onion Lentil Soup

Serves 10
2 tbsp canola oil
2 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into half-moons 
2 tsp Aleppo pepper flakes (or 1 1/2 tsp paprika and 1/2 tsp cayenne)
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup dry white wine
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes (I used fire roasted) 
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 lbs dry brown lentils, rinsed
10 cups vegetable broth
Kosher sea salt to taste
  1. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven (I love my Staub) or pot over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until well caramelized - this will take about 20-30 minutes, so be patient!
  3. Increase the heat to high and add the garlic, ginger and carrots. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Add the spices and stir through. Cook 1 minute to bloom the flavours.
  5. Add the white wine and stir vigorously to deglaze, then add the tomatoes, bay leaves, lentils and broth.
  6. Cook, uncovered, for 1 hour. You will need to stir frequently to prevent the lentils from sticking.
  7. Add salt to taste and serve.

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