We are coming up on fall in about a week, which in our house means that it’s time to use your dutch oven and make some soup. In my house, we actually look forward to the cooler weather because we really love our soup. I guess it brings us (at least me) back to my peasant roots. Whenever I make soup, I prefer to use my Le Creuset dutch oven. It’s a costly pot, but it’s incredibly versatile and provides a really great, consistent cooking experience (but more on that in another article).
There are many recipes for Mushroom Lentil Soup, but the more you make it, the more you will arrive at your own version of this delicious and healthy soup. The recipe below is my own modification from several different recipes that I’ve tried. There’s a bit of preparation involved in making this and really any soup, but we really feel that it’s worth all of the effort. Before you get to use your dutch oven, you need to chop up all of the vegetables that you’ll be adding to the soup. We chose not to include carrots in this recipe, but this is an option to include if you’d like to. Step one is always prep all of your ingredients.
The first image here illustrates what our prepped ingredients look like. We sliced up a point of baby Bella mushrooms, celery, chopped our garden-fresh garlic and leeks. Now, a word on leeks.
Leeks are in the onion family but don’t have nearly as much “bite” as you’ll find in onions or shallots. We like the flavor that we get from leeks when we add them to our soups. When you prepare leeks, you need to slice them; you need to put the slices in a colander and rinse them well. There can be many dirt inside the leek, which you don’t want in your soup. We chop off the root bottom and slice up until we reach the medium green color on the stalk. We also rinse our 2 pounds of lentils well to make sure that we get any residue off.
The last word on leeks is that you can swap them out for shallots or onions, depending on what you prefer.
Once you’ve prepared all of the ingredients that you’ll start with, you can begin to heat some olive oil so that you can saute the vegetables.
Follow steps 1 and 2 in the recipe below to saute your vegetables.
Mushroom Lentil Soup
- Dutch Oven
- 2 Leeks (halved and sliced
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 pound white or baby bella mushrooms, sliced
- 3 garlic cloves (more if you prefer)
- 2/3 cup dry white wine
- 8 cups vegetable stock (add 10 for a 'soupier' soup)
- 2 cups rinced lentils (your choice)
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 3/4 tsp cumin (more if you love it, or none if you hate it)
- salt & pepper to taste
- Saute your vegetables: heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat in your dutch oven. Add leeks, celery, mushrooms and saute for 6-8 minutes until soft. Stir occassionally. Add the garlic and continue to stir for 2 minutes.
- Deglaze. When vegetables are softened and garlic becomes fragrant add the white wine to de-glaze the pan. Scrape up any bits that have stuck to the dutch oven
- Simmer. Add vegetable stock and all herbs and spices, stirring to combine. Cook until the soup reaches a simmer - then you can add in the lentils. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 1/2 hour to 1 hour when lentils are sufficiently softened.
- Remove the thyme sprigs and the bay leaves.
- Serve with a crispy crusted bread to sop up what misses your spoon.
Simmer Your Soup For As Long As You’d Like
Once you’ve sauteed your vegetables, it’s time to simmer the soup. When you add in your vegetable stock, keep your personal preferences in mind. If you like a think soup that is more of a stew, add in 8 cups of broth. If you like a brothier soup, then add in 10 cups of stock. There won’t be that much of a flavor difference between the two, but it’s all how you prefer to eat it.
In the image above, you’ll see the beginnings of your soup coming together. You need to understand how long you need to simmer it to ensure that everything is cooked enough. Whenever I make one of my soups, I simmer them for a little longer than the recipe typically calls for. In the case of mushroom lentil soup, you should simmer it for a minimum of 30 minutes to make sure that the lentils have sufficiently softened. In this batch that I prepared, I let it simmer for about an hour and 15 minutes. I did this largely. After all, I wanted a very thick soup because I would put it over rice and eat it with some grilled marinated chicken, but that’s another recipe for another day.
Finishing The Soup
Once the lentils became sufficiently softened (about an hour and 15 minutes), we shut the soup off and took the dutch oven off the burner since we wanted the cooking to stop.
The last step is always the presentation step. For the purpose here, we spooned the soup into a bowl to see the finished product of what you will be making. We typically serve a soup with a crispy loaf of homemade bread to soak up everything in the blow and not miss a drop.
Used In This Recipe
The main tool we used to prepare this recipe was our Le Creuset Dutch Oven (pictured below). As we’ve said above, this is, in our opinion, one of the most versatile and indispensable kitchen tools we own. It’s very expensive, but we really love it. Should you use a Dutch Oven or a Casserole Dish? See this Dutch Oven on Amazon.