Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Greek Lentil Soup

If I can be bothered to, I'm going to be making a Greek lentil soup today.

Six to seven quarts of water (how "soupy" do you like your soup).
One pound of lentils picked through for grit and rinsed, not soaked.
Two chopped onions.
Four ounces of olive oil.
Two heaping tablespoons of tomato paste.
Two cloves of garlic (if you have them).
Three bay leaves (if you have them).
Level tablespoon of ground black pepper (less is more to my taste).
Salt, about a teaspoon, AT THE END.

Cook everything, except the salt, at low heat, semi covered, bubbling not violently boiling, until the soup takes on a thickened sauce-like quality and the lentils are tender and semi-amorphous. There will be a critical point when it starts to thicken that it will want to stick to the bottom of the pot and singe. You have to be there to stir a few times over about 10 minutes. When you're ready to turn off the heat, stir in the salt, turn off the heat and cover completely.

Serve with anything.
There's no formula for the salt and pepper. How much do you like either? Less is more because you can always add more to your plate.
UPDATE: Cook time really varies according to the strain of lentils you use. I bought some I had never tried before today and after almost two hours they still look like they need another hour.
UPDATE II: Thank you one more time to SayUncle for linking this post.
UPDATE III: No grilling is possible when the temperature is 30 degrees but I maintained the Mediterranean motif with "oven-grilled" mild Italian sausages. A steel baking pan, about two inches deep, a thin coating of oil on the bottom of the pan, some oregano sprinkled on the sausages, bake at 360. The sausages will plump and brown nicely and a lot of the fat will be rendered out. Take them out when they look "grilled" to you and squeeze a lemon on them (if you like lemon). A Sesame Semolina bread from Jewel and various cheeses from Costco.
UPDATE IV: Venomous Kate uses less water but adds two cans of diced tomatoes. You need a minimum of six quarts, water and ingredients, to begin with because by slow cooking/reducing you lose about two quarts of water and you want to end up with about four quarts of soup.


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