Gosh, this recipe for Orange-Scented Lentil Soup came at a perfect time. After a mild December, we’ve had plenty of sub-normal temps, and precipitation ranging from freezing rain to sleet to snow. A steaming bowl of hearty soup was the ideal way to warm me from the inside out, and Dorie’s lentil soup sure hit the spot. Her additions of orange peel, cloves, coriander seeds and ginger gave subtle undertones to the flavor without overwhelming the overall taste. It could easily be made vegetarian by swapping out the chicken broth for veggie broth and eliminating the bacon garnish. I pureed some of my batch, and left the rest chunky. My preference was for the latter…but both versions were outstanding. I think the hubby would have liked this one, too, not too different from his favorite split pea soup…but when he heard “lentils,” the deal was off.
Yellow onions, celery and carrots were sautéd till tender before chicken broth, lentils du Puy (French green lentils) and the seasonings (a strip of orange zest, pepper corns, coriander seeds, one clove, coarsely grated ginger, salt and pepper) were added. My pot of soup simmered for about an hour till the lentils were tender. Then you have the option of pureeing your soup or leaving as is. I had some creme fraiche left in the fridge so a nice dollop with some crispy bacon strips made for a delectable garnish. Details of this recipe can be found in Dorie Greenspan’s cookbook, Around My French Table.