Zuppa di Lenticchie
(Italian lentil soup)
Given that lentils look a little like small coins, it is considered good luck in many countries to eat a dish of lentils to ring in the New Year. The better to earn lots of money in the coming months!
4 to 6 servings
- Olive oil -- 3 tablespoons
- Onion, chopped -- 1
- Carrot, peeled and chopped -- 1
- Celery, chopped -- 2 stalks
- Garlic, minced -- 2 to 3 cloves
- Tomatoes. chopped -- 2 cups
- Stock or water -- 8 cups
- Lentils -- 2 cups
- Parsley, chopped -- 1/4 cup
- Rosemary -- 1 sprig
- Bay leaf -- 1
- Salt and pepper -- to taste
- Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high flame. Add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic and saute until the onion is transculent, 5 to 6 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 3 to 4 minutes. Then add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce flame to medium-low and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the lentils are cooked through but not falling apart.
- Adjust seasoning and serve with crusty bread.
- Add pasta, pearled barley or rice when you add the lentils. This makes a thicker soup, and you make have to add more liquid..
- For a meaty meal, add chunks of chicken, pork, or sausages to your simmering soup.
- German Linsensuppe: Saute some chopped bacon and use the bacon fat instead of olive oil. Eliminate the garlic and tomatoes. Add sliced frankfurters and chunks of potato.
- Greek Fakes: Add some oregano. When you serve the soup, drizzle it with some olive oil and red wine vinegar.
- Spanish Sopa de Lentejas: Use red lentils and add a tablespoon of good paprika to the onions, carrots and celery as you saute them. Brown some Spanish chorizo and add it to the soup.
- Turkish Mercimek Çorbasi: Use 1 1/2 cups of red lentils and 1/2 cup of bulgur wheat. Eliminate the rosemary, and add a tablespoon of paprika and 2 teaspoons of cumin to the onions, carrots and celery as you saute them. Garnish with mint and drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice.