cookbooks

Lentil Soup (linzen), No. 1 Recipe

Lentil soup, also known as "linzen" soup, is a popular and nutritious dish that has been enjoyed for centuries. Known for its simple and hearty ingredients, this soup has been a staple in many cultures around the world. Lentils, which are small legumes, are packed with protein, fiber, and essential nutrients. They have been cultivated for thousands of years and have been a vital food source in many ancient civilizations.

To prepare the No. 1 version of lentil soup, you will need the following ingredients:

- 2 cups of lentils
- 1 onion, sliced
- 2 tablespoons of drippings (such as olive oil or bacon fat)
- 3 stalks of celery or celery seed
- Pepper and salt to taste
- 2 quarts of warm water

To begin, soak the lentils overnight in cold water. This will help soften them and reduce the cooking time. The next day, drain the lentils and set them aside.

In a large saucepan, brown the sliced onion in two tablespoons of drippings. This will add depth and flavor to the soup. Once the onion is browned, add the soaked lentils to the pan. Fry them for about five minutes to release their natural flavors.

Next, add the celery to the pan. You can either cut three stalks of celery into small pieces or use celery seed as a substitute. The celery will add a hint of freshness and crunch to the soup. Season the mixture with pepper and salt to taste.

Now, it's time to add the liquid. Pour two quarts of warm water into the saucepan with the lentils, onion, and celery. The warm water will help soften the lentils and allow them to cook evenly. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer.

Allow the soup to simmer slowly, stirring occasionally. This will ensure that the lentils cook thoroughly and absorb the flavors from the other ingredients. The cooking time can vary, but it usually takes about 30-45 minutes for the lentils to become soft and tender.

Once the lentils are fully cooked, it's time to blend the soup to create a smoother texture. Pass the mixture through a sieve, removing any larger pieces of vegetables or lentils. This step is optional but recommended, as it will give the soup a smoother consistency.

After sieving the soup, return it to the saucepan and heat it again. This will ensure that it is warmed through before serving. You can adjust the seasoning at this point, adding more salt and pepper if needed.

When the soup is hot and ready, it is time to serve. Ladle the lentil soup into bowls and garnish with fresh herbs, such as parsley or cilantro, if desired. This soup pairs well with crusty bread or a side salad for a complete and satisfying meal.

Fun facts about lentil soup:
- Lentils are one of the oldest cultivated crops, dating back to at least 8,000 BCE.
- Lentils were considered a staple food in ancient civilizations, including the Roman Empire and Ancient Egypt.
- Lentil soup is a popular dish during the Christian season of Lent, hence the name "lentil soup."
- Different cultures have their own variations of lentil soup, incorporating unique spices and ingredients.

Similar recipe dishes to try:
- Moroccan Lentil Soup: This variation of lentil soup includes warming spices like cumin, coriander, and cinnamon, as well as tomatoes and lemon juice for a tangy flavor.
- Indian Dal: Dal, a traditional Indian lentil dish, is made with various lentil varieties and flavored with a blend of spices like turmeric, cumin, and mustard seeds.
- Italian Lenticchie: Italian lentil soup typically includes vegetables like carrots, onions, and celery, along with herbs like rosemary and thyme for a fragrant and comforting dish.
- Turkish Mercimek Corbasi: Turkish lentil soup is often flavored with garlic, paprika, and red pepper flakes, giving it a slightly spicy kick.
- Greek Faki: Greek lentil soup often includes carrots, potatoes, and tomatoes, and is seasoned with herbs like oregano and bay leaves for a Mediterranean twist.

These variations of lentil soup showcase the versatility of this humble legume and offer a wide range of flavors to suit different palates. Whether you stick to the classic No. 1 lentil soup or explore different cultural versions, you're sure to enjoy a hearty and nutritious bowl of comfort.

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