So, we’re moving. Not to another city or anything, and we've certainly moved plenty of times in our lives. But what has turned this into a huge monster of a time- and life-consuming project is that we're moving into a house that needed everything when we found it. Plumbing. Electric. HVAC. Walls built, moved or removed. And most important, perhaps, work to make sure the house will continue to stand as it has since probably the 1880s.
The roller coaster ride has not come to a complete stop yet and won't for a while. But it's finally being a little less, um, fraught. We will be sharing more details in future posts. For now, let us just say life is being one long sleep deprivation experiment.
All that said, one can only eat so many takeout meals; we're still occasionally cooking. Chicago got a belated April Fools Day joke – not just snow, but snow blowing sideways. At the end of a particularly busy day, we wanted something hearty, comforting and quickish to cook. Bonus points if it was healthyish and used stuff currently in the fridge and pantry.
This chicken lentil soup pushed all the buttons. It's not a life-changing recipe, but it's one that fills you up and wraps its arms around you, telling you everything will be OK. And sometimes, that’s exactly what you need.
Chicken Lentil Soup
6 generous servings
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
3 carrots, sliced
2 ribs celery, including leaves, sliced
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 generous teaspoon dried herbes de Provence
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized chunks
4 cups chicken stock or store-bought reduced-sodium broth
4 cups water (plus more, if needed)
1 pound dried lentils
2 bay leaves
1. In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, heat oil over a medium flame. Add onion and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add carrots and celery, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and herbes de Provence and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 45 seconds.
2. Add chicken. Now you want to stir it until everything is all mixed together. Then let it cook, stirring occasionally. You don’t want to brown the chicken, but you want all of the pinkness to turn to white – 5 to 8 minutes should do it. As a bonus, the chicken will pick up the flavors of the herbs and the aromatics.
3. Add the water, broth, lentils and bay leaves. Stir and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. (Wow, what a lot of commas.) Add water, if needed – I didn't need to. Adjust seasonings and serve.
Related post on Blue Kitchen: Curried lentils with poached eggs