James and his brothers have a lot of great stories from their youth. There are one of the few siblings I know that were totally in sync and can count the fights they’ve had on one hand. James and Peter (before Paul was born) would play a game called “Pals”. They couldn’t get enough of each other that they had to pretend they were friends – which, somehow, meant more to them than being brothers. I thought I would honor this special bond with a “brothers” meal because I don’t have siblings…I play a game where I pretend they are mine.
(Incidentally, my second favorite story of their growing up is the one where Peter brought James to school for show-and-tell…dressed in a cape. I mean, really).
I made a hearty lentil soup for them and I think I might add it to my weekly roster. It was simple and delicious and (I hope) a real crowd pleaser. We served it with some homemade whole wheat bread and a chunk of Prima Donna, a hard cow’s milk cheese (type of Gouda) from the Netherlands. This recipe is a mix of Julia’s and my mom’s and something from Epicurious.
What you’ll need:1 1/2 tbsp. of butter 1 1/2 tbsp. of olive oil 1 chopped shallot 1 1/2 cups of chopped onions 1 cup of chopped carrots (you could add more) 3 cloves of chopped garlic 3 tbsp. of flour 6 cups of chicken stock 15 oz. of crushed tomatoes 2 bay leaves 1/2 tsp. thyme 1/4 tsp. of fresh grated ginger 1/2 tsp. of cumin powder (if you only have seeds you can grind them down)
1 1/2 cup of lentils 2 tsp. salt
- Chop the veggies.
- Heat butter and olive oil in Dutch oven or soup pot.
- Cook over low heat for 15 minutes until veggies are tender.
- Add garlic and cook for 5 more minutes.
- Blend in flour.
- Add one cup of liquid until it is absorbed by the flour.
- Add the remaining liquid and the tomatoes.
- Bring to a simmer, then add herbs (bay, thyme, cumin, ginger).
- Stir in lentils and salt.
- Cook for 90 minutes over medium-low heat.
- At the end, blend 1/2 to 3/4 of the soup with an immersion blender or by pouring soup into a blender.
- Serve and garnish with some freshly grated Parmesan.