I started off 2017 with Red Lentil Ragu, so I guess it is only fitting that I end the year with a Red Lentil recipe.
Italians are superstitious. For the incoming New Year, you must wear red underwear for luck. The underwear has to be new and someone has to give it to you. (Gift idea: red underwear makes a great stocking stuffer!) In Italy for New Year’s Eve dinner, you are always served a course with lentils. Lentils symbolize money and the more you eat, supposedly the more money will come your way the next year.
The first year I had a dinner party for New Year’s Eve, I served lentils. It was fun to be traditional, but eating a big plate of lentils wasn’t as much fun at a dinner party. I then remembered a soup that I made at the Cooking Alaturka cooking class I took in Istanbul a few years back.
What better way to eat lots of lentils than in soup? The Turkish soup I made (Ezogelin Çorbası) contained red lentils and bulgar. It was a crowd hit!
This recipe for Lucky Lentil Soup is a variation of the delicious Turkish soup with a few differences: there is no bulgar, it has been pureed to produce a smoother soup and, as I was making it in Italy, there is extra tomato paste in it, instead of the traditional red pepper paste that they use in Istanbul (which is impossible to find outside of Turkey).
Lucky Lentil Soup
Prep Time: 5 minutes; Cook Time: 45 minutes; Serves: 8 – 12
What you need:
- 1 3/4 cups red lentils, rinsed, but not soaked
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tsp flour
- 1 1/2 tbsp dried mint
- 1 1/2 tsp Aleppo red pepper flakes (or chili flakes) – more if you want it a little spicier
- 2 tbsp tomato paste (the original recipe calls for 1 tbsp tomato paste + 1 tbsp red pepper paste – since red pepper paste is all but impossible to find, use 2 tbsp tomato paste)
- 6 cups chicken stock (vegetable or water)
- lemon wedges, to serve
- salt and pepper to taste
What you do:
- Cook the lentils 15-20 minutes in approximately 6 cups of water, until they fall apart. (If you want, you can skim the foam as the lentils cook)
- Strain the lentils, set to the side
- In a large soup pot, melt the butter and add flour to make a light roux.
- Add the chili flakes
- Add the mint
- Add the tomato paste
- Stir continuously so nothing burns.
- Add the lentils, stir
- Add the stock
- Stir and bring to a boil
- When the soup comes to a boil, purée (optional if you want to slightly chunkier leave is as is)
- Remove soup from heat
- Add salt and pepper to taste
- Serve with lemon wedges
- Have your guests squeeze the lemon into the soup – this is a must!
Don’t forget to wear your red underwear! Wishing everyone a happy, prosperous and wonderful 2018!
On behalf of all of us at Travel*Food*Cool, A BIG THANK YOU!!! to all of you this year who have read, commented, liked and tried the recipes or cocktails or travelled on adventures.
Travel*Food*Cool will be off for the holidays and will return January 10, 2018. Starting 2018, we will be posting once a week.
Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! Buon Anno! Cheers to a fabulous 2018!