I like lentil soup and stew in many forms, but this one might just be my new favorite. With tomatoes, garlic, and Italian herbs, it is quite zesty, and pureeing makes it a little different from a standard lentil soup - in a good way.
1 Tbsp olive oil
10-12 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 cups brown lentils
2 cups tomatoes and their liquid (canned, or thawed if frozen)
1 large potato, peeled and diced
1 bay leaf
Water and/or chicken or vegetable stock
2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot. Add the garlic and onion and saute over medium heat until soft, 4-5 minutes. Add the lentils, tomatoes, potato, and bay leaf to the pot, plus enough stock and/or water to cover by about an inch. Stir in the herbs. Bring to a boil, then simmer until the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.
When the lentils are tender, remove the bay leaf, then puree the soup with an immersion blender (or in batches in a blender or food processor). You can leave it a little chunky if you like, or puree until fairly smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.
Serves about 6.