Wednesday, January 12, 2011

French blue lentil soup

It's cold and wintery and the entire city is snowed in! Let's make soup!I love blue potatoes. I love their nutty flavor and ancient pedigree--they're from the Andean highlands of Peru and look like potatoes must have looked like seven thousand years ago. You just need one big one--peel it and cut open to see a beautiful tie-dye inside.Chop into little chunks roughly the same size and set aside.You need one small onion, diced.And about 1/2 cup of diced celery.And bacon! Truthfully, this soup could use more but this was all I had in the house--about 1/4 pound. Chop it up into little pieces and fry until crispy in a big pot.Remove the delicious nibbles and set aside, hiding them from yourself, if necessary.
Add the onion and celery to the bacony pot over medium heat and saute until softened, about 5-7 minutes.
Add 1 teaspoon cumin and 1/2 teaspoon chile powder to bloom in the fat.
Then 1 tablespoon tomato paste, sauteed briefly.
Rinse about 1 1/2 cups of french green lentils (aka lentilles du Puy). You can use regular lentils if you want but I like these because they hold their shape even after they're cooked. They're especially delicious with our blue potato.
Add to the pot and saute for a minute or two...
Then add in your blue potato along with 2 whole cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed.
Add 6 cups of chicken stock and a bay leaf or two, and bring to a low boil, then turn down to simmer for about 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, stir 1/2 cup of greek yogurt until very smooth.
Take a peek at your soup--you might want to skim off some of the bacon fat.
When it is all done it will smell divine. Taste it and add salt as needed and drizzle in 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar. I actually also tossed in a teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce for more dimension but that might not be to everyone's taste. I think it would also be good with a tablespoon of miso stirred in there.
Top with spoonfuls of the greek yogurt and a handful of crisp bacon.

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