Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Lentil Soup with Winter Vegetables

I'm addicted to Mezza's Turkish Lentil soup.  I could eat this everyday for lunch.  It's a creamy and luscious soup with tons of great flavor.  I have yet to figure out what goes into this dish but when one of my friends lost her appetite and had strong aversions to certain foods, I thought this would be the perfect soup to make for her.  I found this recipe on Ms. Martha's website and thought it might be good to try.  Here are the veggies I used.  The recipe calls for celeriac, which is also known as celery root, but I couldn't find it readily so I just omitted it.  I used celery, carrots, onions and leeks.  

Lentil Soup with Winter Vegetables
Serves 4
adapted from Allegretti Restaurant 

8 ounces lentils du Puy (French green lentils)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup carrots, finely chopped
1 cup onion, finely chopped
2/3 cup celeriac, finely chopped
2/3 cup leeks, finely chopped
2/3 cup celery, finely chopped
2 sprigs fresh thyme
4 cloves garlic
10 black peppercorns
5 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock, heated, plus more as needed
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
20 baby spinach leaves
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
4 large eggs
1/3 cup white vinegar

Place lentils in a large bowl. I couldn't find green lentils so I used brown lentils.  Add 2 1/2 cups water; soak for 12 hours.  

There's a lot of prep work that needs to be done with the veggies so I suggest cleaning and chopping up all your vegetables at the beginning.  

Melt 6 tablespoons butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add carrots, onion, celeriac, leeks, and celery.

Cook, stirring, until vegetables have softened and onions are translucent, 2 to 3 minutes.

Drain and rinse lentils; add to Dutch oven.

Cook, stirring to combine, 2 to 3 minutes.

Place thyme, garlic, and peppercorns in a piece of cheesecloth; tie with kitchen twine to enclose. I didn't have cheesecloth so I just added thyme, garlic and ground pepper into the soup directly.  Add to skillet along with chicken stock. Place a parchment paper round over liquid and cook for 10 minutes. Season with salt and continue cooking until lentils are tender, about 5 minutes more.

Transfer 1/3 of the soup mixture to the jar of a blender; blend until smooth, adding chicken stock, if necessary. Transfer blended soup back into Dutch-oven with remaining soup; stir to combine. 

Add spinach leaves, remaining 2 tablespoons butter, and drizzle with olive oil. Keep warm.

In a separate pot, fill it with water and add vinegar; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Gently crack eggs into pot, one at a time, and reduce heat to medium. Cook eggs for 3 minutes; using a slotted spoon, transfer cooked eggs to a paper towel-lined plate.

Serve soup immediately topped with a poached egg.  I forgot to take more pictures, but here's a picture from Martha's website, showing you the finished product.

I really liked this soup but there is an obscene amount of butter in this dish.  I think it is tasty without all that butter so I'd adjust it a bit on the next go around.  I'm definitely going to be experimenting with more soups this winter so I'll keep you posted.

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