‘Barefoot Contessa’ Ina Garten Always Adds 1 Secret Ingredient When She Makes Lentils

Ina Garten smiles as she holds a spoon on the Today show in 2017

Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten has amazing ideas for lentil soup. Her different takes on this tasty dish include Lentil Vegetable Soup, Lentil Sausage Soup, and Stewed Lentils and Tomatoes. No matter which recipe you choose to make, each one features the same surprising secret ingredient.

Ina Garten on the Today show in 2017 | Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty ImagesAdd Lentil Soup to your dinner rotation with recipes from the ‘Barefoot Contessa’

Lentils might not be something to get excited about. But Garten can turn these little edible seeds from the legume family into a delicious dish with the help of just a few fridge and pantry staples. Never underestimate the Barefoot Contessa!

Lentils are usually categorized by their color, which ranges from yellow and red to green, brown or black. Garten’s recipes always call for Puy, or French green lentils. They are about one-third the size of green lentils and have a peppery taste. Each type of lentil has its own unique combination of antioxidants and are highly nutritious.

Perfect for vegetarian and vegan diets, lentils are made up of over 25 percent protein. They are packed with B vitamins, magnesium, zinc, iron, and potassium.

Ina Garten’s surprising secret ingredient for lentils

Garten has shared a variety of lentil soup recipes over her 20+ year career as a cookbook author and TV chef. Her recipe for Lentil Vegetable Soup, Sausage Vegetable Soup, and Stewed Lentils and Tomatoes all feature one surprising secret ingredient — red wine vinegar.

If you really want to bring some dynamic flavor to your lentil soup, Garten suggests avoiding the store-bought chicken stock. Instead, the Barefoot Contessa says to make it from scratch using her special recipe.

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Homemade Chicken Stock Ingredients (yields six quarts):

3 (5-pound) chickens

3 large onions, unpeeled and quartered

6 carrots, unpeeled and halved

4 celery stalks with leaves, cut in thirds

4 parsnips, unpeeled and cut in 1/2, optional

20 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley

15 sprigs fresh thyme

20 sprigs fresh dill

1 head garlic, unpeeled and cut in 1/2 crosswise

2 tablespoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns

You’ll need a 16 to 20-quart stockpot to make the recipe at this scale. For best results, simmer uncovered for four hours. Strain all of the contents through a colander so you can discard the chicken and vegetables, then chill. Once you discard the hardened fat, pack the broth in quart containers.

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Source:: Showbiz Cheat Sheet


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