After the indulgences of the holidays, I am left feeling a bit weighed down and ready for new beginnings: more time for myself, more quality time with friends, leisure travel and last but not least, better nutrition. In my quest to fill my meals with more protein, fiber, iron, zinc, and flavor, I am cooking with more legumes, vegetables and herbs that I dried myself and use in my salt grinder, mixed with sea salt.
Tonight is New Year’s Eve in New York and many of my friends in Europe have already rung in the New Year. In Italy, many of my friends will find good luck and sustenance after a night of drinking, in a bowl of lentil soup.
about 10 servings
- 1 lb whole green lentils (small preferred)
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 2 to three garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- ½ cup of North Fork Pinot Grigio from Pugliese Vineyards (and save the rest for dinner)
- 4 fresh bay leaves
- 1 quart chicken stock or garden stock
- 1 pint grape tomatoes sliced in small wedges
- 1 bunch of flat leaf parsley leaves, washed and rough chopped
- 3 to 4 dried sage leaves
- 1 tablespoon of fresh, chopped cilantro (or one teaspoon of cilantro pesto)
- 3 to 4 large carrots
- 3 to 4 stalks of celery
- 4 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Soak lentils overnight–they will double in size. (This can be skipped, but you will have to cook the lentils longer and the texture will not be as good)
- In a 3 quart saucepan, heat olive oil to medium high, add chopped onion, carrots, celery and garlic lastly. Cook until glassy and soft and add the tomatoes at the end. Add in the lentils, wine, herbs and broth. Bring to a low boil, cover and simmer about 30-40 minutes until lentils are tender. About 10 minutes before completion, add the vinegar, one tablespoon at a time until you reach desired level of brightness and acidity. Lastly adjust for salt and add fresh black pepper.
- Ladle soup into bowls, top with more chopped parsley and a drizzle of olive oil.