I don’t blog about cooking or recipes very often – I’m not a confident cook and don’t experiment a great deal. But I love soup and lately have become obsessed with finding a great lentil soup recipe.
Primarily, this is because I recently discovered that lentils pack an enormous amount of iron as well as protein. I was recently diagnosed as being beyond anaemic—my doctor discovered the iron levels in my blood were so low as to be almost non-existent. No wonder my lips have been white for the past several years. I thought I was just aging badly.
So – among many other things, including heavy iron supplements and more beef – I’ve been paying much more attention to lentils. I like lentils, and my friend Letizia suggested this recipe, which I tried on Sunday.
The taste is fantastic, the recipe was incredibly simple, and it also includes one of my favourite new foods, farro – a grain from Umbria. I think it is related to spelt.
But, I’m not sure that I’m preparing it correctly, because after 30 minutes of simmering, the broth for my soup was almost entirely absorbed by the grain and the lentils. The texture wasn’t unpleasant at all, but I tend to think of soup as being ..... soupy. I must check with Letizia, to see if this is typical of Umbrian soups.
But I would highly recommend the recipe, the zuppa was tasty and filling, a full meal in itself.
1 large onion, sliced thin
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1-2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 cup/250 gr. small brown whole lentils
1 cup/250 gr. farro (or spelt)
parsley, finely chopped
4 cups/ 1 lt. water or vegetable or chicken stock
1 large garlic clove, halved lengthwise
1/2 slice toasted Italian crusty bread/person
1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan/person
In a 4-quart heavy saucepan make a “soffritto” by softening the onion in olive oil over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until pale golden. Add ginger and stir for 1 min. Add lentils and spelt (farro), hot water or stock and simmer, stirring occasionally, until soup is thickened and lentils are soft but still retaining their shape, about 30 minutes. Season soup with salt and pepper only when cooked.
At this stage the cooled soup can be frozen. When ready to serve defrost, add some water - it will be quite solid – and bring to a low boil.
Toast bread slices, rub generously with fresh garlic and then cut them into small cubes. Ladle the soup into soup bowls, scatter over each bowl the chopped parsley, bread cubes , a teaspoon of good extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of Parmesan. Serve immediately.