Last night’s Autumn Soups with Herb Infused Oils yielded 5 delicious soups prepared by the students. Each recipe combined a combination of locally grown, organic fruits and vegetables seasoned with fresh and dried herbs. The crowning glory to each bowl were the condiment toppings and a drizzle of herb infused olive oil; each one different and exploding with flavor. I present to you the French Lentil Soup, a simple yet elegant recipe that is as satisfying as it is delicious. I had prepared the infused olive oil the day before and it was so easy to prepare you will want to make some to have on hand. All you need is a double boiler, the herbs, olive oil, a strainer and cheese cloth. Store the oil preferably in a dark glass bottle with a tight seal. Use in cooking or as a splash on top of soups or pasta.

Herbs du Provence Oil

1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
1 tablespoon dried marjoram
2 cups EV oil

1. Fill the bottom half of a small double boiler with about 3 inches of water.
2. Place the herbs in the top half of the boiler and pour the olive oil over the herbs.
3. Cover the top and fit into the bottom half. Place over medium low heat and bring water to a simmer.
4. Lower heat and slow cook for 2 hours. Replace water in lower half as needed. Do not let water seep into the oil and herbs so leave covered.
5. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
6. Place cheesecloth in a metal strainer and strain the oil, squeezing the herbs to remove the oil.
7. Place in a clean jar or bottle and seal with a fresh cork or twist top. Keep in a cool dark place or refrigerate when not using.

French Lentil Soup
6 servings

3 tablespoons EV olive oil
2 cups onions, chopped
1 cup celery stalks, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Vegetable bouillon cubes
6 cups water
1 1/4 cups lentils, rinsed, drained
1 14 1/2–ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
Herbs du Provence infused oil

1. Heat oil in large heavy saucepan over medium–high heat. Add onions, celery, carrots, and garlic; sauté until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
2. Add 4 cups broth, lentils, and tomatoes with juice and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium–low, cover, and simmer until lentils are tender, about 35-40 minutes.
3. Using an immersion blender puree to the count of ten. (or transfer 2 cups soup (mostly solids) to blender, puree until smooth and return to soup pot); thin soup with more broth if too thick.
4. Season with salt, pepper. Ladle soup into bowls and drizzle the herb infused oil across the top. Serve and enjoy.