Meyer Lemon Lentils

meyer lemon lentils

I have been in heaven with a whole bowl of Meyer lemons on my counter, sent from Barb's tree in northern California. Honestly, better than winning the lottery if you're me.

One of the most delicious refreshers in the world:  Squeeze half a Meyer lemon into a tall glass.  Fill with ice, top with seltzer water. You would not believe how much juice one gets from these things.  Am I rubbing it in too much?  Lay off?  I will, after I talk about this soup.

Two nights ago, I had exactly 45 minutes between coming home and leaving again.  45 minutes to plan and make lunch for my friend Cheri, and no time to go to the grocery store.  I have this acquaintance...I think she calls herself The Leftoverist or something silly like that.  I think that's a weird name, but apparently she can go through someone's cupboards at a moment like this and emerge with a plan.  I facebooked her (I heard she's always on there), opened my cupboard, and gave her an inventory.  When she heard about the big bag of lentils, she said they cook really fast and would be safe for vegan friends like Cheri.  After getting wind of the Meyer lemon bounty around here, I thought she might get off her computer and drive on over, but I guess she has some boundaries.

It's a good thing I made some quick soup. Tentative dinner plans with Emily got confirmed later in the evening, so I had this soup for lunch at Cheri's house, then for dinner when Emily came over.  There isn't even one tangy little lentil left.  I think that would make the Leftoverist happy.

Meyer Lemon Lentils
If someone didn't send you a case of Meyer lemons, things aren't as dire as they might seem.  Costco carries them!  And they're completely affordable--a clamshell of 6 or 8 for around $5.  If Costco is already part of your life (a blessing AND a curse, really), I suggest buying some for a winter treat.  Or, you can use half lemon and half orange juice here--just make sure it's fresh.  My rosemary plants are the definition of hardy, still thriving after our cold snap.  My thyme, however is gone for the year.  The fresh lemon thyme in this soup came from a rare shopping trip to Whole Foods, where I discovered really luscious fresh herbs in cello for around $2.25--not bad, considering thyme has gone into everything this week and I still have some left.  I served a scoop of rice in the middle of this soup for the kids--that's another Leftoverist trick, I think.

3 Tb. olive olive
1 small onion, finely diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper
2 c. lentils, washed
2 bay leaves
2 Tb. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
2 Tb. fresh lemon thyme, finely chopped
juice of one Meyer lemon + 1 Tb. finely grated rind (OR juice of 1/2 lemon + juice of 1/2 orange)
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained

Heat olive oil in a large stockpot.  Add onions and garlic and saute until soft, about 10 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Add lentils, bay leaves, and enough water to cover by about 2".  Bring to a boil, then turn down to a low boil, skimming foam occasionally and adding more water as necessary.  You don't want the soup to be too thick--I like enough water so the lentils float around in there versus stick together in a glob.

When lentils are almost tender (about 25 minutes unless they're really old), add fresh herbs, Meyer lemon juice and zest, and tomatoes.  Simmer until flavors meld and lentils are tender, about 10 more minutes.  Adjust seasonings as necessary, adding more salt, pepper, herbs, or lemon juice/zest to taste.