Creamy Lentil Soup

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Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons butter or olive oil,
  • half a yellow onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, chopped
  • 2 cups uncooked lentils, rinsed
  • 2 medium potatoes, chopped (about 1 cup total)
  • 4 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth (plan to add a few more cups as needed while cooking)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a few sprigs fresh parsley
  • a few springs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 3-4 cups packed fresh baby spinach
  • salt and pepper to taste (be generous with the salt!)
  • olive oil and red wine vinegar for topping (if desired)

Instructions:

  1. Heat the butter or olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, and celery. Saute for 5 minutes more minutes until the vegetables are tender and fragrant. Add 1/2 cup of broth slowly – it should give a little sizzle and get all the browned bits off the bottom.
  2. Add the lentils, potatoes, and remaining broth. Add the bay leaf, parsley, and thyme. If you'd like you can tie them together and toss in the pot (the reason for tying is so you can easily remove them at the end. That's an option. I sometimes just pick them out later or just leave them.
  3.  Simmer for 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally, adding more broth as necessary so the lentils are just barely covered in liquid. When the lentils and potatoes are soft, gently mash them against the side of the pot with the back of a spoon to make the mixture creamy. You can leave much of it chunky. You can determine the creaminess. 
  4. Remove the tied herbs; add the half and half and spinach. Stir to incorporate. Season with salt and pepper (season, taste, adjust, repeat).
  5. Serve each serving with a drizzle of good olive oil and a splash of red wine vinegar.