Recipe for lemony lentil soup will warm any soul. Try it with this wine

Nothing beats a bowl of steaming soup for lunch or dinner as the weather turns chilly.

Whether you’re craving minestrone, lentil, butternut squash, or French onion soup, they are all satisfying and can be an inviting appetizer for one of your holiday dinners.

Most soups improve with a few days’ aging, so I always make enough for leftovers and love the ease of pulling out a container of soup from the freezer on nights when I don’t feel like cooking.

I store Parmesan cheese rinds in a plastic zipper bag in the refrigerator to drop them into soups and sauces to add a distinct umami (often called the fifth taste alongside salty, sweet, bitter and sour) flavor.

With homemade or store-bought vegetable or chicken broth on hand, the sky is the limit when cut-up cooked chicken, beef, turkey, beans, noodles, rice, or vegetables are added.

Soups can take many forms -- smooth or chunky, clear or creamy, rustic or elegant.

Some soups are dominated by a single ingredient, while others provide an excellent base for bringing together a combination of flavors and textures.

Experiment with flavor variations and combinations. If you don’t have one vegetable, substitute another. You can puree part of the vegetable mixture in a blender and return it to the soup pot with the un-pureed soup to create texture.

Top Mediterranean-style soups with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, and a dollop of pesto and Parmesan shavings to add a note of freshness.

LEMON-LENTIL SOUP

Serves 4 to 6 as a main course or starter

This recipe is adapted from “The Art of Pantry Cooking” by Ronda Carman, Rizzoli International Publications, Inc. ($39.95).

The lemon in this recipe needs a high=-cid wine to match. Cloudy Bay 2022 Sauvignon Blanc ($27.97) -- a wine that made New Zealand winemaking famous -- boasts notes of vibrant passionfruit and juicy citrus to pair perfectly with the flavors in this soup



Carman writes, “This is my go-to soup. Any time I feel unwell or crave comfort food, I whip up a pot of it. Chock-full of lentils and carrot and scented with lemon and turmeric, it is savory, satisfying and utterly delicious. For this recipe I sweat my vegetables, cooking them until they are softened without browning them. A technique called à l’étouffée in French cooking, it adds depth of flavor to the soup.”

1 tablespoon extra-light olive oil

2 cups finely chopped yellow onion

2 cups chopped carrot

1¼ teaspoons kosher salt

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

½ teaspoon ground coriander

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

½ teaspoon mild curry powder

1⁄8 teaspoon cayenne

2 cups red lentils, rinsed and drained

8 cups chicken or vegetable broth

Juice of 1 large lemon

Flat-leaf parsley for garnish

Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium-low. Add the onions, carrots and ¼ teaspoon of the salt. Cook the vegetables without browning, stirring frequently, until they are soft and sweet smelling, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic, cumin, turmeric, coriander, black pepper, curry powder, cayenne and remaining 1 teaspoon salt and cook for 30 seconds.

Stir in the lentils and broth. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, partially covered, until the lentils are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the soup from the heat. Stir in the lemon juice, garnish with parsley and serve.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings as a main course or starter