This One is Mine
I am told lentil soups are a bit like the kitchen sink. Whatever you have available, toss it in.
Well, I had a bit of a think about this and decided that I could make one that would be my very own. And here it is. The hunter gatherer likes it though I can never really rise to his exacting standards that require it to be reproduced in true and original form time after time.
I use leeks and ciboule as the onion flavour in my cooking and this soup utilises them as well. I did have a couple of people ask me what a ciboule was. So here is Wikipedia’s entry for Ciboule translated into English as Chives:
Its scientific name is Allium fistulosum L., family Amaryllidaceae. (Eg Liliaceae ) and its common names are onions, chives, Spanish onion, chiboule or garlic fistula. It is known by the names of Schnittzwiebel or Winterzwiebel German, Welsh onion in English, cebolleta Spanish or Cipolletta Italian. This is an important ingredient in many cuisines of the Far East under the name 葱 (pinyin: leave; pronounced “tsung” in a loud voice) Chinese, negi ( 葱/ネギ? ) in Japanese and 파 (pa) in Korean. The plant is also used in Russia in spring salads.”
So there you go and I trust you are the wiser. I find them in Morrison’s Supermarket packaged in the ubiquitous plastic bag. So I took a photograph as well:
Apparently there was a French Roman Catholic theologian and moralist called Robert Ciboule in the 15th century – alas he is no more. But the ciboule onion lives on to delight our palettes and our (my) soups.
Enough of this – here’s the recipe:
400gr can green lentils, drained and washed – I finally used the tin that had taken up larder space for long enough
½ leek & 1 ciboule finely diced
Garlic & Ginger bottled, finely diced or shredded, about ¾teasp of each – I am not fussy on this score
50gr finely diced unsmoked bacon – I had some bacon lardons in the freezer and used them
Freshly ground black pepper & salt
1tbsp vegetable oil – Sunflower for me
400ml mixed Chicken and Vegetable (Knorr) stock. Well I also had a Chicken rubbing spice mix that I added and this time I had proper chicken stock fortified with shredded chicken from the bones to which some frozen peas had been added – very yummy.
1 teasp each of ground turmeric and cumin
Splosh red chilli paste or ½teasp paprika
1 tbsp crushed coriander leaves. Fresh if you have them but it won’t matter within the soup.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan, gently fry bacon, leek, ciboule, garlic and ginger. Don’t burn the mix. Tip the washed green lentils in and stir all together. Add some pepper and salt. Cook until all is hot then pour in the stock and spices and bring all to the boil.
Simmer with lid half covering pot for 40mins until the lentils disintegrate. The liquid will reduce a little. Let the mixture cool a little. Use a hand held whisk and blend the mixture together. Put into a basin to do this – don’t damage your pot. I have a Kenwood mini processor that I first saw on a video of Simon Hopkinson, one of the BBC’s Food Chef contributors. I do so really enjoy the BBC Chefs. He was powdering some parmesan and I lusted after his mini processor. It was definitely worth buying.
Return the whisked soup to the pot with 2 teasp butter and reheat. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Add a splash of lemon juice. The consistency should be about that of single cream.
Serve sprinkled with a dollop of crème fraiche and chopped parsley or fresh coriander. Naan or other flatbread is good, although tonight we had some homemade bread . A lot of recipes call for a garnish of caramelised onions. If you like and prefer. The hunter gatherer doesn’t!