Winter has lasted approximately FOREVERPLUSTHIRTYSEVENDAYS in Chicago this year, and a few days ago that meant nothing would do but a big pot of my mom's lentil soup.
Start with three grated carrots and a chopped onion in a little olive oil:
(Look! Photos from the cooking process!)
(Well, make that one photo from the cooking process. The other ones came out too blurry. Especially after I popped the bottle of wine and had a glass. Or two.)
Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and a teaspoon of dried marjoram. Saute until the onions are tender and the marjoram fragrant.
Add a can of diced tomatoes (I used the Racconio brand again, just tomatoes and sea salt), a bag of lentils, rinsed and cleaned, and about eight cups of broth. To make the dish fully vegetarian you can go with vegetable broth, but since I have about 2908239072349082349 containers of homemade chicken stock in my freezer from the 2908239072349082349 times I've made roasted chicken and then boiled the bones, I figured I'd better use some up.
Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for an hour until the lentils are soft. Pour in one to two ounces of dry white wine and simmer uncovered another ten minutes.
Top with cheese (I went with a lovely mellow munster) and serve with fresh baked bread and butter.
It's a vegetable-based recipe, if not totally vegetarian, and goes to the heart of what I think Pollan's food rules are all about: fill yourself with beautiful plants and herbs first, supplemented by natural starches, garnished with naturally-raised meats and dairy.
When I make this soup, I feel like I'm really eating from the earth.