The lentil is an edible pulse or bean that has been part of the human diet since ancient times. There are a number of ways to cook these grains that are high in iron, but the simplest and the tastiest of all is a lentil soup. Serve this super delicious lentil soup hot on a cold snowy night, with homemade cornbread and fried potatoes.
Olive oil - 2 tablespoons
Finely chopped onion - 1 cup
Finely chopped carrot - ½ cup
Finely chopped celery - ½ cup
Kosher salt - 2 teaspoons
Lentils - 1 pound
Tomatoes (peeled and chopped) - 1 cup
Chicken or vegetable broth - 2 quarts
Freshly ground coriander - ½ teaspoon
Freshly ground toasted cumin - ½ teaspoon
Freshly ground grains of paradise - ½ teaspoon
Open the bag and transfer the lentils to a clean, flat surface; pick out debris, and little rocks, if any.
Put the lentils in a colander and rinse them under running water.
Transfer the lentils to a bowl and add enough water to cover the lentils; let stand for 15 to 20 minutes.
Pour two tablespoons of olive oil into a heavy bottomed 6-quart pot and set over medium high heat on the stove.
Once the oil is hot, add chopped onion, carrot, celery and salt, and sauté until the onions are soft and translucent, about 5 to 6 minutes.
Now, add the soaked lentils and tomatoes to the pot and mix with a slotted spoon.
Also add coriander, cumin seeds and grains of paradise to the lentils and veggie mixture, and stir to combine.
Pour in 2 quarts of broth (chicken or vegetable), increase the heat to high, and bring the mixture to a full boil.
Reduce the heat to low and allow the mixture to simmer covered for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.
Check the lentils periodically for tenderness; when they are soft but not coming apart, they are ready.
Blend the cooked lentils with a stick blender to your preferred consistency, garnish with fresh coriander, and serve immediately.