Umbrian lentil soup...
On a damp and cold or chilly day, sometimes nothing is as good as "simple," especially if you have a cold. And, nothing gets more simple and delicious than this easy-to-make and Umbrian lentil soup.
The Motley Monk learned about this soup from a daily email newsletter he receives, ItalianNotebook.com, the intent of which is to introduce readers to Italian culture and, so much so, that they become tourists and spend their $$$s in Italy. The recipe in the email newsletter seemed simple enough and, since The Motley Monk likes to cook with lentils—his favorite being a spicy sausage and lentil soup he learned from Michele Urvater's "Monday to Friday Cookbook"—so, The Motley Monk gave the recipe a whirl...with a few additions and subtractions here and there.
The soup begins by soaking the lentils in cold water for a minimum of three hours (or overnight).
About 1˝ hours before serving the soup, heat 2 quarts of vegetable (or chicken) stock in the microwave.
Using a soffritto (or “gentle fry”) method, cover the bottom of a soup pot with olive oil. Heat the olive oil and add the chopped vegetables, stirring with wooden spoon. (Did you know that Italian grandmothers have a rule? Never use stainless steel with legumes!) Stir until vegetables are well-sweated.
Add parsley, bay leaves, rosemary, and red pepper flakes. Stir. As the spices give off their aroma, add the lentils. Stir. Add the hot vegetable (or chicken) stock to the vegetables and bring to a boil. At this point, the soup will look watery.
Cover the pot, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes.
When the lentils are “al dente,” use the back of the wooden spoon (don't forget the rule!) to smash some lentils against the inside wall of the pot. This will thicken the soup a bit. Adjust the spices.
And, within one hour, a very good Umbrian lentil soup will be ready to consume. Heat some hearty Italian bread in the oven—this day The Motley Monk had some fresh ciabatta—and "mangia! mangia!
An optional addition: near the end of cooking, add a generous bunch of Swiss chard chopped or torn into small pieces.
Like the idea? Click below for the recipe:
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