Some of the best recipes that I’ve tried no doubt are the ones that have been passed down from family and friends. Tried and true, used over and over for generations, these recipes always use a lot of precision with terms like “lots” and “about.” But that’s really why cooking is so amazing, because at the end of the day no recipe is perfect, but it can be perfectly yours. You get to decide to “add as much as you like” and “cook for a while” until it becomes a dish that is just the way that you want it to be.
It’s no secret that one of the things that I love to do most is cook. But to be completely honest, I love to spend time cooking with family and friends. The first time I tried this soup was in college with Ben. It was about February and I think he was secretly hoping for some cooler weather, but in Los Angeles, that’s just usually not the case. His mom had e-mailed him this lentil soup recipe and he was eager to try it – and she was right, half the fun is making it with others.
She warned us that we should give ourselves about two and a half hours from start to finish if we wanted a “not rushed” soup, but it’s worth the wait. I should also warn you that it makes enough to feed an army, which is good because the wonderful smell permeated the entire apartment and Ben’s roommates were more then happy to volunteer as “testers.”
- ½ stick of butter
- 1 lb bacon
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 head (or about 8 cloves) of garlic
- 6 carrots, sliced
- 6 medium potatoes, cubed
- 2 lbs of beef sausage, sliced
- 1+1/2 bags of dry lentils
- 8 cubes of beef bouillon
- Start with one large soup pot. Melt about a half stick of butter. Be sure to not let the heat get too high or all will eventually burn.
- Fry about 1 lb of bacon ’til almost crisp. Drain fat. (I use an old juice can and stick the drained fat in the freezer.)
- Add to the bacon one large onion, diced.
- Add as much garlic as you’d like. Use a garlic press to add them to the mix.
- Add to the above about six carrots and six medium potatoes.
- Let all the above ingredients cook together for a while.
- Add lots–about two pounds–of beef sausage, cut into bite-sized pieces.
- Add water to about 2/3 to the top.
- Add about 1-1/2 bags of lentils
- The soup needs to come to a boil and stay there for about 15 minutes. This will soften the lentils and merge the flavors.
- Once all the ingredients have cooked together for about a half-hour to an hour, add about 8 cubes of beef bouillon (more or less according to taste).
- Add salt and pepper. (I always wait to season the broth after the flavors have had time to meld so as not to over-salt/over-season it).