Recipe - Paul's Red Lentil Soup
Paul's Red Lentil Soup
Paul was first introduced to lentil soup by our Italian sailing friends, Antonella and Giorgio aboard S/V Narena, while cruising in Turkey. It was around Christmastime and we were in Fethiye on the south coast of Tureky and one sunny day we all decided to go for a sail despite the snow on the surrounding mountaintops. At sea level it was warm in the sun. All other boats were hunkered down for the winter.
Then Paul and Giorgio decided to go diving! Brrr! Giorgio was determined to catch a fish for dinner and to also collect shellfish which he and Antonella eat raw like sushi – a special Christmas treat. So off our men went despite the cold temperature of the water.
Paul and Giorgio were successful in their mission but blue with cold and shivering after their dive so Antonella whipped up a hearty and warming lentil soup in her pressure cooker aboard Narena using red lentils and some vegetables she had on hand.
Paul loved it and over the years has revised the mixture of vegetables and herbs to create his own special recipe. He often makes this soup up before a passage to sit on the stovetop while we're sailing for a quick, nourishing, easily-digestible meal. He recently made up a pot when we weathered Tropical Storm Chantal with the boat tied in the mangroves in Martinique. It was a warming comfort food in the midst of the raging storm. We documented the experience including how we set up the boat in the mangroves in Distant Shores episode 9-12 (#116) which you can download if you’d like to see it.
This is another “kitchen sink” style recipe that you can easily adapt to the vegetables and herbs you find in the places where you're cruising. For example, Paul sometimes adds celery, green pepper or spinach if it's available. If fresh parsley can't be found he will use dried parsley or oregano. A dash or two of tarragon adds a wonderful flavour too!
Paul's Red Lentil Soup
1 large potato, chopped
1 large leek, chopped (or 3 green onions)
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, chopped
1 small bunch of parsley, chopped
1 large bay leaf
pepper to taste
1 ½ cups red lentils (Or 1 cup red lentils plus ½ cup green lentils for added texture)
6 cups of water
Saute chopped vegetables in olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat.
When vegetables are soft add water and bay leaf, then lentils.
Stir and simmer on medium-low heat until all vegetables are cooked and broth thickens, about 30-40 minutes. If it gets too thick you can add more water. Stir often to prevent scorching on the bottom of the pan. (Note: If you use green and red lentils, the green lentils take longer to cook so you will need to simmer the soup longer, for about an hour total, in a regular saucepan.)
You can also make this soup in the pressure cooker in about 10-13 minutes at 15 lbs. pressure but it nearly always sticks to the pan on the bottom since you can't stir it while under pressure.
Remove the bay leaf before serving.
Puree if desired but we like it chunky, more like a vegetable stew, for a heartier meal.
Serve hot with fresh bread or rolls.
Makes 6-8 servings.