Let me just start off with a reminder to read the recipe,
people. If I had done that, perhaps this dinner would not have taken me two
hours start to finish. Driving to the store mid-prep to pick up celery that I
could have sworn was in my fridge but mysteriously disappeared would have also
made this dinner a faster endeavor. Two people could have this thing done in no
The recipe I used is from the Williams-Sonoma website and uses all sorts of fancy things that I didn’t have. Actually, just two fancy things - soup blender and fancy organic lentils. Turns out, your basic pot works just fine and so do whatever lentils you can come up with at your local grocer. I was lucky on this last point because I happen to live in Idaho where the fancy Williams-Sonoma lentils are grown, so the fancy lentils were actually available at my local grocer disguised as regular lentils.
Perks of living in the sticks.
I cut all my veggies while cooking my bacon, then, rather than use olive oil, wiped down the bacon pan and cooked my veggies in the remaining bacon grease.
Yum. If I had been paying attention, I would have sliced my onions for the grilled cheese while dicing the onions for the soup, thus creating less mess, only one bout of tears, and allowing me to caramelize my sandwich onions while sautéing my soup veggies. This may also have resulted in less burnt, more caramelized onions. Ahh, hindsight.
My soup veggies only needed about 10 minutes to sauté rather than the 30 minutes called for in the recipe. I added my lentils, tomatoes, and stock then let the whole shebang simmer covered for about 45 minutes. I should point out here that I live at high altitude, so I always have to cook lentils or beans longer than than the recipe indicates. You would probably have this soup on the table in 30 minutes if you live in, say, Houston. Lucky you.
Here’s what it looked like after 30 minutes of simmer.
I may have added extra lentils. And some cumin.
While my soup simmered, I prepped my sandwiches (and burnt my onions), substituting whole grain bread for the Batard. I also substituted regular sliced wheat and cheddar for the shorties. The soup seemed like enough of a stretch for their taste buds without subjecting them to mustard and onions on a sandwich. Just before grilling the sandwiches, I removed about a cup of soup from the pot and put it in the blender in the refrigerator. When the sandwiches were almost done, I blended the cooled soup and threw it back in the pot. Please trust me when I say you do not want to try to blend the hot soup unless your kitchen is in need of a major cleaning and you want an excuse to clean it. I may have learned this from experience.
All in, the meal was a success. My soup-disliking husband actually liked the soup and said he would eat it again. The sandwiches were an obvious hit. If you are anti-condiment like me, live a little. Try the mustard. It’s good. The kids were not big fans of the soup, but despite that, they each ate more than half of their bowl. Each bite they considered to be a “no thank you bite”, but half the serving of a new food is a success in my book. Exposure, exposure, exposure.
(P.S. My three year olds ate two turkey dogs each and ravioli for lunch today. What is it with kids and their taste for cafeteria food?)
(P.P.S. The photos look completely amateur because the photographer is an amateur. I'm working on that, I promise.)