Lentil soup with thyme and balsamic vinegar

From: The California Cook (Diane Rossen Worthington)




1. In a 6-quart soup pot over medium heat, heat the oil, add the onion, and sauté for about 3 minutes. Add the carrots and celery and continue sautéing for about 5 minutes.

2. Add the lentils, ½ cup ham, the stock, tomatoes, and 2 tablespoons of the parsley. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook for about 30 minutes or until the lentils are tender, stirring occasionally.

3. Process the soup in the pot with a hand blender or in a food processor fitted with the metal blade, pulsing until the soup is partially pureed but still has plenty of texture.

4. Add the remaining ham, parsley, thyme, vinegar, salt, and pepper and simmer for 5 minutes more. Taste for seasoning.

5. To serve, ladle into soup bowls and garnish with the tomatoes and parsley.

Advance preparation: Can be prepared up to 3 days ahead through step 4 and refrigerated. This soup also freezes well. Be sure to adjust the seasonings and add fresh herbs when you reheat the frozen soup.