French Lentil Soup with Tarragon and Thyme Recipe

Difficulty: Easy | Total Time: 1 hr | Active Time: | Makes: 8 servings

This is the last lentil soup recipe you will ever need. Tarragon adds a wonderful peppery, licorice flavor that complements this soup like nobody’s business. Just try to keep leftovers of this soup stored in the fridge—you will find yourself going back for more all night. After three helpings, keep the lid on it to retain some sense of dignity.

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into fine dice
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon paprika (Hungarian if you’ve got it)
  • 5 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 6 cups water or vegetable broth
  • 2 cups French lentils
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • Several pinches of freshly ground black pepper
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat a large pot over medium heat and add oil. Sauté the onion and carrots for about 10 minutes, until onions have browned a bit. Add the garlic, tarragon, thyme, and paprika, and sauté for 2 more minutes. Add the tomatoes and a little splash of water if necessary, and stir to deglaze the pot. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the water, lentils, bay leaves, salt, and pepper, then cover and bring to a boil. Once the soup is boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, covered, for about 45 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. If the soup looks too thin, uncover and simmer for a couple more minutes. If it looks too thick, add a little more water. Serve with good, crusty bread.

Beverage pairing: Lazy Creek Gewürztraminer, California. A soup with lots of flavors needs a complex wine, and this litchi- and herb-packed white wine fits the bill. Dry, spicy, and smooth.

This recipe, while from a trusted source, may not have been tested by the CHOW food team.