I make a loose plan for a week’s worth of menus every Thursday night and make my routine call for requests to my Dear Husband and my two sweet teenagers. Usually it’s an amusing list of what they don’t want: “No wet meat!” my Honey Girl who dislikes braised dishes might yell from the kitchen. I wonder how many Thursday nights I have had the same conversation with my family about this particular soup. No matter how many times I make it, its presence on the menu list is always greeted with protests, groans, promises to refuse to eat it, attempts at bribes to never make it again, and general moaning. I try futilely each time to convince them that they love it. Then, the magic happens. I make it and we sit down to dinner and, in genuine awe, they love it. They gobble it down and ask for another bowl and swear they will never forget how much they love this lentil soup. Until, of course, the next time it’s on the menu. Just make it. It’s an ugly cousin soup full of things that are too good for you to be truly delicious, but somehow are together. And it’s a perfect meal on a night when you are bone tired or cold or can’t face anything ambitious in the kitchen.
Simple Puy Lentil Soup Tips
Puy lentils are French green lentils. They have a slightly earthy flavor and retain their shape nicely when cooked. You may substitute any kind of lentils, but doing so may produce a soup which is more akin to dal or traditional split pea soup, and may change your cooking time. Don’t worry about this. Just check the pot periodically.
This soup is nice with a few shavings of Parmigiano Reggiano and a rustic loaf of bread.
This soup is even better the second day. The spinach will have lost its bright green color, but it is still delicious. Add more stock as needed to thin it a bit. It keeps covered in the refrigerator for five days.
Simple Puy Lentil Soup with Spinach
Yield: 1 large pot of soup, about 12 generous servings
Olive oil for the pan
1 large onion, diced
4 carrots, diced
4 ribs celery, diced
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 ½ c. puy lentils
28 ounces diced tomatoes (I prefer Bionaturae organic from Italy or Muir Glen organic)
6 c. chicken stock, plus additional stock to thin the soup as needed (homemade or Swanson’s organic)
20 ounces fresh spinach
Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat a large soup pot over medium low heat.
- Drizzle in a few turns of olive oil.
- Add the onions and a bit of salt and pepper and sauté until translucent.
- Add the carrots and celery and a bit more salt and pepper and sauté until tender.
- Add the garlic and stir briefly.
- Add the lentils and the diced tomatoes and their juice and 6 cups stock and season with salt and pepper.
- Bring to a simmer over high heat.
- Reduce heat to the lowest possible setting and simmer, covered, for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the spinach and stir until wilted.
- Taste and adjust seasoning.