Now in the midst of mum life, experimenting in the kitchen has given way to things that I can make quickly and warm up later on when there is an opportunity to eat. Planning intricate meals is definitely a past memory. My partner, as the master of quick and easy meals has taught me a thing or two, particularly some lovely Greek recipes. This lentil soup, ‘fakes’ is one such dish; easy to prepare, hearty and very nutritious. Rough chopping is actively encouraged.
The ingredients are all basic store cupboard staples. If you do not have / cannot find brown lentils, use green, speckled, black or puy. Incidentally, I have found a lot more supplies in the small corner shops rather than the supermarkets. Even toilet paper.
Lentils do not need soaking before cooking, however I would recommend that if you have time, soak them in water overnight or for as long as you can manage before cooking. Soaked pulses are more digestible. Now that we are living life in the times of Corona, even staples might be a challenge.
I could not resist adding a few tweaks in the form of some peeled and cubed potato and a little ground pimentos for warming and sweet spiciness.
I do not add salt or vinegar until the end of cooking so that I can blend this up for my baby. He loves it!
Even if you are not so keen on vinegar, try a splash at the end as directed; it really lifts the soup and the flavours.
Serve with crumbled feta and crusty bread.
Time – 25 minutes preparation / 1 hour soup cooking time
- Lidded saucepan or casserole dish
- Wooden spoon
- 300g brown lentils
- 5 cloves of garlic roughly chopped
- 1 white onion diced
- 1 waxy potato chopped into cubes (optional)
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 1/2 tsp ground pimentos / all spice berries (optional)
- 1 tsp black pepper and extra to serve
- 1-2 tsp sea salt
- Water (approximately 5 cups) or stock
- 50 ml extra virgin olive oil
- Red wine vinegar
- Rinse the lentils very well in a sieve. Place them in a saucepan, covered with cold water. Bring to the boil and skim off any scum. Drain the lentils and rinse well with water.
- Add a few tablespoons of olive oil to the pot and gently fry the garlic and onion together for 5 minutes on low heat until translucent but not coloured. Add the bay leaf, all spice (if using) 1 tsp of black pepper, the potato (if using) and the lentils.
- Add water or stock to the pan so that the lentils are fully covered.
- Place a lid on the pan and simmer for approximately 1 hour / until the lentils are soft. Check on it from time to time and if the water is not covering the lentils any longer, add more.
- Once the lentils are cooked, remove the lid from the pan and increase the heat in order to reduce the soup to your desired thickness.
- Once you have your desired consistency, add a generous swirl of olive oil and the salt and stir vigorously in order to emulsify / thicken the soup. I would recommend starting with 1 tsp of salt and tasting it before adding any more.
- Spoon into bowls and add some extra black pepper and a drizzle of red wine vinegar to serve.