Winter Lentil Soup

2 tablespoons Apollo Barouni olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2-4 cloves garlic, chopped fine (the number depends on size and how garlicky you
like your soup)

Sautee onions and garlic in a large soup pot over medium heat, stirring often, until
onions become clear and start to brown a little at the edges.
Meanwhile, dice 3 peeled carrots and 3 stalks celery.
Add to pot and cook until they soften a little.
Add 1 pound (about 3 cups) washed and drained lentils
and cook for 1 minute with the rest of the vegetables, mixing well.
Pour in twoquarts water (8 cups) and a can of diced tomatoes (14.5 oz.) — try fire-roasted
tomatoes if you can find them.
Add 1 tbsp. fresh, finely chopped thyme (or 1tsp. dried thyme).
Bring to a boil, lower the temperature, and cook until the lentils are tender
(45 minutes to 1 hour). Stir occasionally.
When the lentils are beginning to get soft, add 2-3 tsp. salt, or to taste, and 1 tsp. ground black pepper (freshlyground, if possible).

This makes 6-8 portions. This is a vegetarian soup, which is given full richness and texture only with the addition of a fresh, full-bodied oil like Barouni.