Blog: MY MUSE BOX - Woe Was Us!

My husband's French Lentil Soup

OK – it’s still winter – a/k/a the flu season.  But like the smart grown-ups we are, my husband and I got our flu shots early.  No way were we going to get the flu.  Well, as we all know, the flu isn’t the only “disease” you can get in winter… there’s always the tried and true severe winter cold, coupled with severe bronchitis.  And, for a couple of weeks in February we were house/couch/bed ridden with both.  Our house looked like an infirmary and sounded like a TB ward… cough, cough, cough – sniffle, sniffle, sniffle.  Woe was me.  Woe was us.

There’s an adage: feed a cold, starve a fever.  So, since neither of us had a temperature past 100, we entered into “feed a cold” mode.  We made improv chicken soup from box broth, frozen chicken dumplings from TJ’s and fresh veggies… even had a can of Campbell’s chicken noodle and tomato soup for a couple of lunches, but as our health improved slightly, our taste buds became more discerning. We wanted really homemade soup, even gourmet-y… But we were still too weak to make a run to a market.

Hence, my husband’s own lentil soup.  Well, maybe not his own, but his version of a French lentil soup.  We had about two tons of lentils in our ‘larder’ he bought for a dollar somewhere, so why not?  We had spices and some aging carrots, wilting celery and a yellow onion.  Perfect for soup.  But we didn’t have a fresh tomato in the house… not  even a can of peeled and chopped or stewed tomatoes.  We were tomato-less until he found a congealed jar of sun-dried tomatoes in the back of the fridge. After warming the jar to liquefy the oil he drained them, cut them up and added them to the mix.  A tomato is a tomato, right?

We’re better now, but the memory of that lentil soup was sun-dried scrumptious and healthful (all that protein and fiber, ya know).  Sometimes you just need a change from chicken soup when you’ve got a cold.


                             My Husband’s French Lentil Soup



2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

½ cup chopped carrots

½ cup chopped celery

2 teaspoons Kosher salt

1 lb. lentils

1 cup peeled, chopped tomatoes (or one jar of drained sun-dried tomatoes)

Spinach (my husband's addition)

2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock

½ teaspoon coriander

½ teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon pepper

a dash of balsamic for color and taste (again, my husband's addition)




Heat oil in pot.  Over a medium/low flame, add the chopped onions, carrots, celery and salt and “sweat” seven minutes or so.

Add lentils, tomato stock, coriander, cumin and pepper and increase heat to high.  Bring to a boil, then add that dash of balsamic and the fresh spinach (thawed and drained frozen spinach also works), cover and simmer 35 to 40 minutes.


Bon appetit!

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Bob Blanchard March 02, 2013 at 05:19 PM
Dear Ilona, First of all, if you were to follow my lead, you would seldom get sick. You mentioned the old adage of feeding a cold, etc. Wrong, Wrong. Feed all the time and you don't have to worry about the cold issue. But my culinary recommendation is to make sure you buy Hebrew National hot dogs (the best) when they are on sale and freeze them, Then when your husband gets the urge to make his gourmet lentil soup, he can slice up a couple of hot dogs to top off his recipe. Helpful hints from Heloise has nothing on us.
Ilona Saari March 02, 2013 at 05:31 PM
LOL- I loved Hebrew National hot dogs (see my very first blog here at Patch - "Ode To The Hot Dog") - but since they don't encase them anymore, they've lost their appeal. My Ode declares my favorite dogs in NY and LA and why biting into one's red dye favorite needs the snap of the skin allowing the juices to flood the mouth...;o) Gray's Papaya in NY and Nathan's at Coney Island are my two favorites, but I haven't yet tried Gray's in Hollywood since it opened a year or so ago. Used to buy a string of dogs at Art's (not the fat "special" hot dogs), but haven't in years. On the Gentile side of hot dogs - best store-bought in town,imo, are Ralph's Private Selection encased hot dogs - snap - yum!!! Nathan's used to sell the original thin dogs w/ 'skin' when it first started packaging dogs for supermarket sale, but they're skinless now, too, like Herbrew National... ;o( -- But you're right about adding a bit of red dye to lentil soup - yum - tho my husband (not really a hot dog lover) would disagree... ;o)
Irene DeBlasio March 02, 2013 at 08:06 PM
@IlonaSaari Another wonderful column -- you are so talented! I'm sorry to hear that you and Richard were so sick. My doctor died about eight years ago -- I threw out the junk he prescribed for me, never got another flu shot, and have never felt better in my life. I'm sticking to the Mediterranean diet plus a little ice cream. It doesn't get better than that. The recipe looks great and I agree about the hot dog. Stay healthy and happy! xoxoxo
Ilona Saari March 02, 2013 at 08:10 PM
Thanks, Irene -- We're pretty healthy - but all our friends seemed to have gotten that cold from hell and were nice enough to give it to us, as well. ;o) We basically follow the Mediterranean diet, too - have been for years.
Ilona Saari March 02, 2013 at 08:11 PM
Tho nothing takes the place of real butter when you're making (and eating!!!) sole almondine... ;o)


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