This is a last minute, no thrills, surprisingly quick and delicious dinner soup. The ingredients are all included in the picture!
Take two cups of dried lentils and cover them with boiling water (I use water from our Insta-hot). Set aside and chop onion, garlic, carrots and celery. Sauté the vegetables in water (for fat-free soup—use tbs. oil if fat is not a concern) with bay leaf, salt, pepper, and cumin in a sauce pan or dutch oven while you chop up 3-4 good sized potatos (I used smaller ones because that is what I had in the house.) Add the potatoes when the onions are fragrant and translucent. Cover with water to 2 inches over the potatoes. Add the soaked lentils and 4 C of water. Soaking the lentils for the 10-15 minutes it takes to prepare the rest of the soup helps them get a head start on cooking, since they take a bit more time than the potatoes.
Bring to a boil, lower to medium heat, and cook for 30 minutes or until lentils are soft. This soup can stay heated at low heat for a couple of hours and suffer no harm.
Serve with fresh bread for a simple, hearty meal. There is something about lentil soup that is homey, comforting and sustaining, and be prepared to ladle out seconds!