Saturday, April 23, 2011

Potage of Lentils

A potage, according to Wikipedia, is "a category of thick soups, stews, or porridges in some of which meat and vegetables are boiled together with water until they form into a thick mush." This particular potage is also known as Esau's soup which led me to wonder whether or not it was a dish worth selling your birthright for.

Adapted from Main Courses 365 edited by Jenni Fleetwood

Serves 4

The Ingredients:
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 celery sticks, chopped
1-2 carrots, chopped
8 garlic cloves, chopped
1 potato, peeled and diced
1 generous cup red lentils
4 cups vegetable stock
2 bay leaves
1-2 lemons, halved
1/2 tsp cumin
cayenne pepper to taste
salt and pepper to taste
sliced lemon and chopped parsley to garnish

The Process:
Heat oil in a large pan. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes or until softened. Stir in the celery, carrots, half of the garlic, and all of the potato. Cook for a few minutes until beginning to soften.

Add the lentils and stock to the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the potatoes and lentils are tender.

Add the bay leaves, remaining garlic, and half of the lemons to the pan and cook the soup for a further 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaves. Squeeze the juice from the remaining lemon then stir into the soup to taste.

Pour the soup into a food processor or blender and process until smooth. (You may need to do this in batches.) Tip the soup back in the pan, stir in the cumin, cayenne and season with salt and pepper.

Ladle the soup into bowls and top each portion with lemon slices and a sprinkling of fresh parsley.

The Review:
With winter not quite giving up it's chilly grasp, another hot thick soup seemed ideal...especially with sore throats and stuffy noses in our household. I was leery of the amounts of garlic and lemon in the soup, but everything balanced out well. The garlic flavor was subtle, as was the cumin. The lemon added a nice tang without being sour. It was a very tasty soup...though perhaps not as remarkable as the original soup Esau had...

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