Quick Ginger and Anise Scented Lentil Soup
1/4 cup olive oil
2 carrots, 1/4" dice
1 small sweet onion, 1/4" dice
1 medium sized thin skinned potato, 1/4" dice (I like Yukon Gold)
1 large clove garlic, minced
3/4-1 cup French lentils
2 dried bay leaves
5-6 cups filtered water, divided
1 star anise
1/2 teaspoon dried ginger
1 tablespoon good quality balsamic vinegar
sea salt to taste
1. Heat the oil in large pot, and add the onion and carrot; cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes. The onions can get a little brown, but you're going for clear, and fragrant.
2. Add the cubed potato and garlic. Stir and cook for just another minute. Do not let the garlic get any color or it will be bitter. Add the lentils, 4 cups water and the bay leaves. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Let it boil for about 5- 8 minutes.
3. Reduce the heat to low and add the ginger and anise. Simmer partially covered until the lentils are soft. Add the balsamic and salt, to taste. It is important not to add salt or acid until the lentils are fully cooked! Remove the anise and bay leaves and set aside. Add 1- 3 cups more water (depending on how brothy a soup you want) and simmer uncovered for about 10 more minutes.
Optional additions: 1 bell pepper, 1/4" dice, brussels sprouts, roasted bell pepper, greens, cooked wheat berries or brown rice, warm bread, cubed avocado, toasted walnuts
Source of recipe: I wrote this recipe as a simple, quick and slightly cheaper version of this one: http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/kabocha-french-lentil-soup-recipe.html which I love, but makes a lot of dishes!