There’s an earthiness about Lentils I crave during the colder months. They are perfect for soups and stews during the winter.
Lentils are an ancient crop that go back 13,000 years. In Italy you will find them in soups or stews, mixed with pasta or as an accompaniment to duck, zampone or cotechino sausages.
It’s a tradition in Italy to eat lentils on New Year’s Eve or Day for good luck and prosperity. I love this lentil soup on after a long night of festivities.
For a meaty option of this soup simply add sliced sausage, bacon or ham hock to the mix. I personally like to add a dollop of goat cheese and fresh diced tomatoes with a drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar as a finishing touch.
Lentils may have tiny stones or dirt mixed in. Before you begin to cook with them spread the lentils out on a kitchen towel and sort through them to remove any tiny stones or dirt.
Next, place the sorted lentils into a colander or bowl and rinse well with cool water to remove any fine particles. Now you are ready to cook with them.
- 3 tbsp of Olive Oil
- 1 1/2 cups of chopped White Onion
- 1 1/2 cups of chopped Carrot
- 1 Stalk of Celery finely sliced
- 1 Clove of Garlic
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 8 cups of Vegetable Broth
- 1 1/2 cups of Lentils (sorted and rinsed)
- 4 Roma Tomatoes Diced
- 1 log of Goat Cheese
- 3 to 4 tbsp of Chopped Italian Parsley (a little reserved for color)
- Salt and Pepper to your taste
- 5 links of sliced cooked sausage or 1 round of ham cubed or 5 Slices of cooked bacon
- Aged Balsamic Vinegar to drizzle over goat cheese
- Carefully pick over the lentils and rinse them.
- In a large heavy saucepan heat the oil then stir in the onions, and cook until soft.
- Add the celery and carrot and cook for about 5 minutes.
- Add the lentils coating them with the mixture in the pan.
- Add the vegetable stock, garlic clove, bay leaf and 3 tbsp of chopped parsley.
- Season with salt and pepper and let simmer over moderate heat for about 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes take out the bay leaf and garlic clove.
- Serve with a dab of goat cheese and diced tomatoes.
- Add the meat after the carrots if you decide to make a meaty version of this soup.
- Drizzle balsamic vinegar over the goat cheese.