From the store to the kitchen to the table: We outline the steps that get you from raw ingredients to your dinner tonight, free of measurements and complicated techniques. It's the most basic way to make the thing you're making—like a fantastic lentil soup.
- two scoops of lentils (any color except red)
- half an onion
- one celery stalk
- one carrot
- three garlic cloves
- oil (olive or vegetable)
- salt and pepper
- fresh thyme (optional)
- one bay leaf
- one 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes
- one quart of vegetable broth, more if needed
- red wine or sherry vinegar
- two big handfuls of spinach leaves (optional)
- a blender or food processor (optional)
How to make it:
- Rinse the lentils in a colander or strainer.
- Finely chop all the vegetables.
- Coat the bottom of a pot with oil and heat. Add the vegetables and cook until they're softened. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the thyme (if using), bay leaf, tomatoes and their juices, lentils, and broth and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes or until the lentils and vegetables are soft.
- Check to see if the soup needs any additional, broth, salt, or pepper, and finish with a drizzle of vinegar.
- Optional: Add spinach and stir until wilted.
If you like, purée half of the soup in a blender and add it back to the pot for a creamier texture.