Saturday, April 19, 2014

lentil soup with chorizo croûtes

This marks the first year that I've celebrated Good Friday by going cross-country skiing.

You might think: Oh, she went away to the mountains for the long weekend; how nice. 

Um, no. I'm still here in the middle of the Prairies and I went skiing by the river that's five minutes' drive away from my house.

Let me tell you about April in Edmonton. First, the snow melted. Second, my tulips started poking up in front of the house. Third, it snowed again. Fourth, the snow melted again and my tulips grew some more. Fifth (Good Friday), it snowed again, so we went skiing, made a big pot of soup, and (hopefully) drank our last hot chocolate of the season.

I thought I'd be into spring recipes right now, but I've got to be true to the season where I live. Believe me, there is no rhubarb or stinging nettle growing here.

Anyway, I don't really mind because I do love this soup.

You take fun lentils  like du Puy or beluga  and cook them up with herbs, carrots and onions until they're tender enough to be puréed. A couple whirs of the immersion blender and they're lovely and smooth.

But you don't stop there. You fry thin slices of chorizo sausage in good olive oil until they curl and become just slightly crispy. This also gives you a pretty, red oil that you swirl on top of the soup (because who doesn't like making things look fancy?).

The chorizo croûtes float on top of the soup, just waiting for your spoon to find a treasure of salty, chewy goodness amongst the smooth, earthy lentils.

You see why I like this soup? It's also pretty quick to make after work. Even if you forget to soak the lentils, that just adds an extra ten or twenty minutes to the total cooking time, while you're washing dishes or setting the table.

Winter, you're not so bad. (But I'm still looking forward to spring.)

more lentil love: parsley lentil pasta, spiced red lentil stew with greens and lemonred lentil coconut curry soup
one year ago: stinging nettle soup
two years ago: gouda and roasted pepper dip
three years ago: a baked banana revelation
four years ago: butterscotch pudding and chocolate cheesecake

lentil soup with chorizo croûtes
via french taste by laura calder
serves 4

1 c. (200 g.) beluga or du Puy lentils*
1 carrot, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 good-sized thyme sprig
4 c. (1 litre) chicken stock
salt and pepper
juice of 1/2 to 1 lemon
about 3 tbsp. (45 ml) olive oil
1 cured chorizo sausage, sliced thinly

Soak the lentils in cold water for 2 hours.** While your lentils are soaking, put your onion, carrot, bay leaf, thyme and chicken stock into a good pot with a heavy bottom. Drain the lentils and stir them into the pot. Cover and simmer until the lentils are very tender, about 30  45 minutes.

Turn the heat off and, remove the bay leaf and thyme. Once it's not simmering, purée with an immersion blender. If you're using a traditional blender, let the lentils cool a bit and then purée in two batches. Stir half the lemon juice into the soup. Taste and season with salt and pepper. It's also possible you'll need more lemon. Reheat gently.

In a small, heavy-bottomed frying pan, heat the olive oil. Fry the chorizo slices until they just curl, about 30 seconds. Flip and fry another 15 seconds. Remove to a plate lined with paper towel.

Ladle soup into bowls. Swirl a little chorizo oil on top of each soup. Top with chorizo croûtes.

*Laura says that any bean will work, including chickpeas and white beans, but I haven't strayed from lentils. However, the lighter colour of chickpeas and white beans could be especially pretty with the red chorizo oil.
**If you don't have time, don't worry about it. Just soak them for a few minutes while you prepare your carrot, onion, and herbs. Your lentils will just take a bit longer to cook through.

1 comment:

  1. oh my goodness this looks perfect. After a weekend in the south of Norway with SUN! we arrived last night in Tromsø to a hail/snow storm. And it hasn't stopped yet. Bring on the lentil soup!