Going Greek

By Stefanie Dulak

While everyone’s focus is probably on eating as many Irish foods as possible this week (Irish Stew or Corned Beef and Cabbage anyone?), I decided to take a different route and concentrate on a dish from a different area of the world: Greece. Lentil soup is said to have originated in Greece where the legumes were first harvested between 10700-9400 BC. There are three reasons why I love lentil soup:

  1. It’s basically a one-pot dish, which means super easy cleanup.
  2. It’s almost impossible to mess up. You can add, remove or combine any ingredients you want, and the soup will still probably turn out delicious.
  3. It is very healthy and very filling. This recipe serves six and is only about 170 calories per serving.

I found a simple recipe for lentil soup from Alton Brown but modified it a bit to suit my personal tastes. Here’s what I did:

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 or 2 cloves garlic, chopped (I love garlic, so I added it to the soup, but Alton didn’t use any.)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 pound lentils, picked and rinsed
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes (Alton suggests using peeled tomatoes from a can, but I didn’t have any so I just used cherry tomatoes and left the skins on.)
  • 2 quarts chicken or vegetable broth (I had just under 2 quarts of broth, so I just added water to make up the difference.)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground toasted cumin (Alton only used ½ teaspoon each of coriander and cumin, but I like a little more flavor, so I used a full teaspoon of each.)

Directions

  1. Place the olive oil into a large soup pot and set over medium heat.
  2. Once hot, add the onion, garlic, carrot, celery and salt, and sweat until the onions are translucent, approximately 6 to 7 minutes. (NOTE: don’t be afraid to use the leaves on the celery! They have a lot of flavor and add another texture to the soup.)
  3. Add the lentils, tomatoes, broth, coriander and cumin, and stir to combine.
  4. Increase the heat to high and bring just to a boil.
  5. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook at a low simmer until the lentils are tender, approximately 35 to 40 minutes.
  6. If you want, use a blender to puree the soup to your preferred consistency, but I just left it as is.

 

Use this recipe as a guideline. Modify the ingredients to reflect what you have on hand or what you prefer taste-wise. And if you really need to add Irish flair in honor of St. Patty’s Day, throw in some lamb.

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Posted on March 12, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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