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Lentil Soup

3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1/2 onion, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
1 cup French green lentils
7 cups water or chicken stock
Fresh-ground black pepper
1/4 cup plain yogurt


Heat a saucepan over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the carrots, onion, celery, and 1 teaspoon salt and cook for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables begin to dry and soften. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook for 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are tender and the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and rosemary to the saucepan and cook briefly to release their aroma. Add the lentils and stir while adding the water and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Increase the heat to high, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until the lentils crush easily and have a creamy texture. Mash the lentils in the pan using a whisk or potato masher to thicken the soup, and season with pepper. Taste and add more salt if needed. Serve hot with a drizzle of yogurt and olive oil in each bowl. Serve the soup with hot and fluffy rice for a more substantial dish. For a spicier version, add chopped chiles to the vegetables at the beginning of the cooking. Or briefly sizzle cumin seeds in olive oil and stir into the soup before serving.

Source: www.epicurious.com