LENTIL AND ROASTED GARLIC SOUP
Makes about 12 cups.
Note: French lentils are the small green variety. Any could be used in this soup. From “The Daily Soup” by Leslie Kaul, Bob Spiegel, Carla Ruben and Peter Siegel.
• 1 whole head garlic
• 1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
• 1 large Spanish onion, chopped
• 2 celery ribs, chopped
• 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
• 2 tsp. dried rosemary
• 2 bay leaves
• 1 tsp. kosher salt
• 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
• 1 lb. French lentils (see Note), rinsed and picked over to remove debris
• 8 c. vegetable stock
• 1 (28-oz.) can whole tomatoes, drained and diced
• 3 tbsp. tomato paste
• 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
• 1 tsp. freshly minced garlic
• 1/4 c. freshly chopped Italian parsley
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Rub off most but not all of garlic’s outer papery skins. Using a serrated knife, cut off the top 1/2 inch from the bulb. Place garlic in a shallow baking pan and drizzle with olive oil. Add 2 tablespoons water to bottom of pan, cover with aluminum foil and roast for 30 minutes. Remove aluminum foil and roast for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, until cloves are pliable and slightly browned. Remove from oven. When cool enough to handle, remove cloves from skin and purée in a food processor or blender; reserve until ready to use.
Meanwhile, in a large stockpot over medium heat, melt butter. Add onion, celery and carrots and sweat until tender, about 4 minutes.
Add rosemary, bay leaves, salt and pepper and stir to coat vegetables.
Add lentils, vegetable stock, tomatoes and tomato paste. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, partially cover and simmer for 1 hour, until lentils are tender.
Stir in puréed roasted garlic, vinegar and fresh garlic. Simmer for 2 minutes to heat through.
To serve, remove bay leaves, ladle soup into bowls and top with chopped parsley.