Thursday, September 17, 2015

Φακές / Fakes (Greek Lentil Soup)

This soup is a lot like the one my mother used to make, although I have a heavier hand with seasonings than she did. Sometimes she added rice, sometimes orzo, sometimes a couple of cubed potatoes, and sometimes no starch at all; any or all of these work equally well, but I happened to choose rice for this batch. In some ways, a lentil soup is a lentil soup is a lentil soup, but the thing that really makes this one sing - in a distinctively Grecian sort of voice - is the red wine vinegar stirred in at the end, which adds a nice sharpness to the "earthy" flavors of the other ingredients.

Fakes (Greek Lentil Soup)
~ 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
~ 1 large red onion, diced
~ 2 large stalks celery, diced
~ 2 large carrots, diced
~ 5-6 cloves garlic, minced
~ 1 tbsp. each: dried dill, marjoram, oregano
~ 1 tsp. salt
~ A few generous grinds black pepper
~ 2 bay leaves
~ 1 cup brown lentils
~ 1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
~ 2 tbsp. tomato paste
~ 8 cups no chicken broth
~ ½ cup basmati rice
~ 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
~ ½ cup chopped, fresh parsley

~ In a large, deep pot, sauté the onion, celery, and carrot in the olive oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
~ Add the garlic and dry seasonings and cook another minute or so, then stir in the lentils and allow them to toast for a few minutes, stirring constantly.
~ Add the canned tomatoes and tomato paste and cook 5-7 minutes, so the flavors can blend a bit.
~ Pour in the broth, cover the pot, and raise the heat to high just long enough to bring the soup to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
~ Stir the basmati rice, replace the lid, and continue cooking 20-25 minutes more, until the rice is cooked and the lentils are soft.
~ Remove the bay leaves, add the vinegar and fresh parsley, mix well, and serve hot.

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