It’s funny how particular foods remain exotic to me regardless of how much I experiment. Burrata, guanciale, herbes de Provence, sriracha, preserved lemon, quail eggs, za’atar are all foods that regularly make their way to my kitchen and still the humble lentil leaves me feeling trembly when I work with them. It’s their simplicity and all that’s implied. One cup of lovely green lentils paired with an uncomplicated classic mixture of carrots, celery, onion, garlic makes magic. Of course there needs to be the right flourish of additional flavour and texture. And then there’s the worry of under or over cooking the little darlings; hard lentils in a soup are as unacceptable as mushy lentils in a salad. Having said all this, if everything comes together as planned nothing is more belly gladdening than a properly cooked bowl of lentil soup.
Lentilles du Puy are my lentil of choice, but not always easy to get my hands on here in Eastern Canada. Runner-up is the Canadian organic french lentil from Milanaise. As long as you’re careful with your cook time, the Canadian packaged lentil will have a perfect texture.
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup diced carrot
1 cup diced celery
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
5 vine-ripe tomatoes, chopped coarsely
1 cup dried green lentils – lentils du Puy if you can find them
6 cups good quality chicken stock
1 cup dried wild mushrooms, chopped coarsely
3 strips cooked bacon, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 handful flat Italian parsley, chopped for garnishing
- Place a large deep stock pot over medium-high heat.
- Add olive oil to pot and warm.
- Add carrot, celery, onion and garlic and sauté until golden, about 10 minutes.
- Add tomatoes and sauté 6 minutes.
- Stir in lentils.
- Add chicken stock, dried wild mushrooms, bay leaves, 1 sprig of flat Italian parsley, bacon, salt and pepper then bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer until lentils are almost tender, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Taste and adjust salt and pepper.
- Just before serving, stir in chopped parsley.
- Serve immediately.
THE LOVE: Adding your parsley just before you serve your soup will ensure that the parsley is a lovely and bright green!
Thanks for reading