Spicy Lentil Soup + Parmesan Toasts

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Perfect soup for a snowy day, hearty and healthy with a spicy kick.  Also good served with rice or a side of sautéed leafy greens.

Spicy Lentil Soup

1 cup french green lentils

1 cup red lentils

drizzle olive oil

1 medium onion or leek, diced

2 carrots, peeled and diced

2 celery stalks, diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 poblano pepper, seeded and diced

2 bay leaves

few sprigs fresh thyme

1 dried guajillo pepper, sliced in 1/2 and seeded

2 quarts vegetable stock

2 teaspoons cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander seed

1 - 2 parmesan cheese rinds

s + p

splash red wine vinegar, as needed

Parmesan Toasts

baguette bread, sliced

olive oil

parmesan cheese, grated

black pepper

For the Soup:  Rinse lentils thoroughly in cold water and carefully pick through for stones and other debris.  Set aside.  In a large soup pot sauté onion, carrot and celery in a drizzle of olive oil over med high heat until onions are clear, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic, poblano, thyme and bay.  Cook, stirring frequently for 2 minutes.  Add stock, guajillo, cumin, coriander, parmesan rind and lentils.  Wait to add salt until the lentils are almost done.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until green lentils are soft, about 30 minutes.  Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and maybe a little red wine vinegar.  Serve hot.  (Chopped fresh parsley and a small drizzle of olive oil are nice garnishes.)

For the Toasts:  Slice as many pieces of bread as you like.  Brush with oil and toast in a dry pan over medium heat.  Flip once and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.  Turn off heat.  Season with a turn or two of fresh black pepper.  Remove from pan.  Serve with soup.