Serves 6
I love a good lentil soup. Red lentils are hulled, so they cook fairly quickly—plus, they make for a super economical meal that’s also nice and hearty. Add some crusty bread, and you have a perfect weeknight meal. The saffron really takes it from simple to spectacular, so don’t skimp!
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 Spanish onion, diced small
1 carrot, peeled and diced small
2 celery stalks, diced small
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon ground cumin
⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 dried bay leaves
1½ cups red lentils, rinsed and drained
4 cups vegetable stock
½ scant teaspoon saffron threads
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
½ teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 In a 6-quart pot over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic and sauté for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until softened and starting to caramelize. Add the cumin and cinnamon and sauté for 1 minute, until fragrant. Add the bay leaves, lentils, stock, 4 cups water, the saffron, salt, and pepper. Bring the soup to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes, until the lentils are soft.
2 Discard the bay leaves, stir in the lemon zest and juice, and serve.