This is the kind of soup we
like...tasty, easy to make, and no exotic ingredients. You'll
need a few cloves of garlic, an onion, couples of carrots and celery
stalks, bunches of cilantro and spinach, olive oil, good handfuls of
dried basil and oregano, a can of diced tomatoes, a 1 lb. bag of
lentils, a lemon, salt and pepper.
First, soak the lentils in water
which they will quickly absorb. Pick out everything that doesn't
look like a lentil. Get a good slug of olive oil heating in a
large pot. Mince the garlic and brown in the oil, but take care
to watch or the garlic will quickly go up in smoke. Chop the
celery, carrots, and onion and saute in the pot.
Add the cilantro and the spices and
mix up for a while. Then add the lentils, followed quickly by the
can of diced tomatoes and 8 count-em 8 cans of water. Stir
everything up good and bring to a boil, from which point lower the heat
and continue to cook for a full hour. It won't begin to taste
like anything for at least 45 minutes at which time you can check the
taste (it will need salt), dump in the chopped spinach and squeeze in
the juice of the lemon. When the time is up, it should taste
There are lots of variations on this simple theme...using chicken
stock, cumin and coriander, curry, and all kinds of other things you
might not have on hand. Just keep in mind: you can go
farther and fare worse.