Lentils are a great source of protein and are very cheap! So, you can easily make this stew for a few dollars and feed your family with a little bit leftover. The original recipe did not include meat, so I just threw in some leftover Bratwurst and it added a nice touch. My husband isn't too fond of meatless dinners, so I try to please him. I'd recommend serving this with a crusty French baguette, and we even splurged this time and added some fine French cheese--definitely worth it!
French Lentil Soup
3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrots
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups chicken broth (or you can use vegetable)
1 1/4 cups lentils, rinsed and drained
1 14 1/2- ounce can diced tomatoes, in juice
3 links smoked sausage, or Bratwurst (optional)*
Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions, carrots and garlic; saute until vegetables begin to brown, about 15 minutes. Add broth, lentils and tomatoes with juice and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until lentils are tender, about 35 minutes.
Transfer 2 cups soup (mostly solids) to blender and puree until smooth. Return puree to soup in pan. Season with salt and pepper. If you prefer a thinner soup, you can add more broth at this point to thin it down.
*If adding the sausage/bratwurst, dice the sausages and saute in a pan until slightly browned. Add to the soup after returning the puree to the pot.
source: adapted from Bon Appetit, December, 2006