Saturday, September 11, 2010
Lentil soup is one of our favorites. It is easy to make, delicious and economical. It is also very healthy.
Here is the recipe our mom has passed on to us. We are from Bari, Italy and of course every region has it's own favorite ways of doing things.
1 bag of brown lentils ( raw or soaked in water and drained)
2-4 cloves of garlic chopped
3 stalks of celery cut as you like it
1-2 carrots cut or chopped
2-4 bay leafs
Olive oil I don't measure but seems like 1/3 cup at least
1 large can of tomatoes, either crushed , whole or sauce ( you can use fresh tomato if you prefer)
Salt and pepper to taste
You can soak your lentils for a couple of hours or overnight. This will cut down on cooking time but is not necessary.
Add lots of water to your stock pot to cover the soaked lentils by about 2 inches and if raw use more. You can always add more water if it looks too thick.
Drop in your chopped garlic, celery and carrots.
Add your bay leaves
Turn heat on high till mixture starts to boil and then down to a rapid simmer. If lentils are raw, cook for awhile till they start to absorb some of the water. If you soaked them you can add your large can of tomato in now and then once the heat adjusts, drop it down to a simmer.
Add the olive oil.
I do not add salt at this time. I usually wait till it's almost done to adjust with salt and pepper. If you prefer to use a chicken stock or vegetable stock instead of water or in addition to.. that is fine.
Once soup is cooked, adjust your seasonings. Add water to desired consistency, and if you like it a bit blended, use your immersion blender to thicken it up a bit. This is a wonderful soup on it's own and can be served with bread and salad to make a complete meal. You can add rice or cooked pasta as well. One of my favorite chefs on tv is Mario Batali. He knows so much about cooking from our region of Puglia. Soups and even frittata are so much about what you have in your pantry or refrigerator. Make them your own, use what you have and add your own touch.
Cooks note: Sometimes after a day or two, it always tastes better once it's refrigerated and heated up, you can add some spinach and turmeric or a touch of curry to give it a different twist, and adding broth or water to loosen the texture is always good.