Red lentil soup


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions medium dice
  • 2 medium leeks, white and pale green parts only rinsed well and medium dice
  • 3 medium carrots roughly ½ lb, medium dice
  • 5 celery stalks (about 6 ounces) medium dice
  • 2 large garlic cloves roughly chopped
  • 1½ cups red split lentils rinsed
  • 1 can (15½ ounces) crushed Italian tomatoes
  • 1 to 2 parmigiano-reggiano rinds
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 2 quarts (8 cups) low sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese for serving (optional)


    step 1

    In a large soup pot, melt the butter and extra virgin olive oil over medium heat until lightly bubbling. Add the onions, leeks, and generous sprinkling of kosher salt, and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onions and leeks are soft and translucent in color, about 10 to 15 minutes. I place the pot lid on askew, to help trap moisture and ensure the ingredients sweat, soften properly, and don't gain too much color.

    step 2

    Add the carrots, celery, and garlic, stirring occasionally, for about 3 to 4 minutes. Continue seasoning the soup lightly with salt and pepper as you add the remaining ingredients. Add the lentils, crushed tomatoes, parmigiano-reggiano rinds, bay leaves, and chicken broth. Stir together and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and slowly simmer, uncovered, for about 30 to 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so, or until the vegetables are tender and the lentils have cooked through and broken down quite a bit. The soup should be thick and hearty.

    step 3

    Blend a small portion of the soup with an immersion blender (or transfer a large ladleful of soup to a small food processor or blender, and puree until roughly smooth). This step is optional, but creates a wonderful texture.

    step 4

    Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste. If it tastes at all flat, feel free to add a small squeeze of lemon juice (however, I like it just as it is!). Before serving, remove and discard the bay leaves and parmigiana cheese rinds. Serve hot. Garnish with freshly grated parmigiano cheese, if desired.