Sea-Fever Style: Tugboat Lentil Soup

It’s a cold, damp, dark Wednesday here in Mattapoisett. It’s that sad time of year where boats are hauled every day and the harbor get’s handed back to the winter sticks.

It’s also the time of year to begin thinking of putting away the BBQ and lining up recipes for winter comfort food. Everett, WA based Herald food columnist Judyrae Kruse (Sea-Fever approved last name!) wrote about a great sounding recipe, Tugboat Lentil Soup by Carole Meagher, author of the cookbook Seasoned with love: Favorite heart-healthy recipes and reflections about food, family, friends, and faith. And to top that Kruse writes:

It then made an immediate debut in a Sept. 18, 2002, Forum column, wherein Carolyn told us, “Tugboat lentil soup was named when it was a mainstay during weekend outings on our old tugboat, Sea Fever.”

Now that’s a soup after my own heart!

Here it is:

TUGBOAT LENTIL SOUP

1 pound dried red or yellow lentils
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups sliced carrots
1 cup sliced celery
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
6 cups water
1 can (14 ounces) vegetable broth
4 ounces lean diced ham
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon sea salt
Black pepper to taste
Thin slices of lemon
Cider vinegar or red wine vinegar

Rinse and pick over lentils for small stones; set aside. In a Dutch oven or large stockpot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add onion, garlic, celery and carrots. Saute about 10 minutes or until onion is translucent and vegetables are tender crisp. Add tomato sauce, water, vegetable broth, bay leaves and lentils; bring mixture to a boil.

Cover, reduce heat and let simmer for about 25 to 35 minutes or until vegetables are soft but not mushy. Add ham and pepper, cover and let cook for another 10 minutes or until ham is heated through. Add salt and remove bay leaves.

Ladle soup into bowls and top with thin slices of lemon. Place a cruet of cider vinegar or red wine vinegar on the table and invite diners to add a splash to their soup.
Makes about 10 servings.

Note: If you like a thicker soup, decrease water by 1 cup.

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Peter A. Mello

Husband, father, son. Lifelong mariner, student of leadership, photographer. Professional creative placemaker.

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