Adding the rind of a wedge of Parmesan cheese to tomato sauce really enhances the flavor. I’ve discovered another use recently. Tossing that rind into lentil soup adds richness and flavor. Definitely worth doing.
This is the basic recipe that I follow for lentil soup. I’ve cut back on the amount of kielbasa that I add these days (Weight Watcher’s Fairies influence!) The addition of the Parmesan rind more than makes up for the lack of sausage.
1 cup of dry lentils
4 cups onions (diced)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 1/2 cups carrots (diced)
1 1/2 cups celery (diced)
2 TBS olive oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp dry thyme
6 cups chicken broth
2 to 3 TBS tomato paste
1/2 pound kielbasa (small dice)
2 TBS vinegar (red wine or sherry)
Parmesan rind (optional)
1. Start softening the lentils by putting them in a bowl and covering them with boiling water. Let them sit while you sauté the veggies.
2. Heat the olive oil in a soup pan and saute the onions, garlic, carrots and celery over medium heat until they soften. Season with the salt, pepper and thyme while they’re cooking. This should take about ten minutes.
3. Drain the lentils and add them to the pot, along with the broth and the tomato paste. Stir well.
4. Bring the soup to a boil. Then lower the heat to maintain an active simmer. Cook, uncovered, for about 45 minutes until the lentils and vegetables are soft. Add a Parmesan rind if you have one.
5. Add the kielbasa and a splash of vinegar. Simmer for another few minutes until the kielbasa has been heated and the flavors have blended. Remove the rind.
Some recipes suggest topping with shaved or grated Parmesan cheese. Don’t neglect the vinegar. It really brightens the flavor.