For two weeks, I craved lentils. I remember the delicious lentils seasoned with cumin, garlic, and onion that my mom would miraculously put together after coming home from work when I was young. Recently, I was fortunate to have my mom visiting with us in North Carolina. It was a great visit. After a quick trip to Weaver Street Market, we made lentil soup. This time, we cooked together, making this dish extra special.
Lentil Chicken Soup
adapted from The Joy of Cooking
1 cup lentils (8 oz.), picked over and rinsed
4 - 5 cups water (more or less depended on desired thickness)
olive oil cooking spray
1 medium onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup diced tomatoes with juice
2 sprigs of thyme (fresh, if you have it) or 1/2-1 tsp. dried thyme
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup chopped chicken breast (optional)
1/4 tsp. cumin
dash of oregano
salt and pepper, to taste
1) Rinse the lentils with water. Begin boiling the lentils in water with the dried thyme, cumin, and oregano in a medium stock pot. Do not yet add the salt and pepper.
2) While the lentils are boiling, spray a medium sauté pan with olive oil. On medium heat, add the diced onions and minced garlic. Sauté until slightly browned and add to the stock pot with lentils.
3) Reduce the heat on the lentils to a simmer for 30-45 minutes, stirring often to prevent the bottom from burning. Add the tomatoes and apple cider vinegar after 15-20 minutes to the pot.
4) While the lentils simmer, spray the medium sauté pan again with olive oil. On medium heat, add the diced chicken breast. Sauté until cooked through. Remove from heat and add cooked chicken to the stock pot.
5) Taste soup, adding salt and pepper, as needed. Serve in a 1/2 cup portion as an appetizer or a 1 cup portion as an entree with warm bread/flatbread/pita.
Enjoy this wholesome, delicious treat. I sure did!