Yep another install of lentil soup, but this is no run of mill “something I think up” soup. This is the real deal Greek style lentil soup that is simple yet outrageously good. You need nothing particularly special for this, more important it is the process that deems the desired result. I have a little story for you… about this soup, my dad, Nick, he loves the stuff….we didn’t eat it that often growing up but when we would have it or eat it at a restaurant and it was done to pop’s specifications it was always a work of art, and seemed to bring him more joy than the most expensive steak house meal. Lentils, aren’t art you say? Well try this then decide that. One brazen afternoon after I had finished my tenure at culinary tech college I decided I would whip up a “new” and “improved” version that I was sure would please my dad and he would never want to go back to the “old” way again. Knowing his longstanding love affair with Campbell soup’s bean with bacon, I added BACON! Bacon makes everything better right? WRONG, dead wrong….he ate a bite and his face fell, “did you add bacon?” “Yep, I did”. “It doesn’t have bacon, it never has meat in it.” He turned his Grecian nose up at it and never asked me to make it again…I have since gone back to the original and even made a few batches for him to try and I finally came up to with right formula. This experience taught me a valuable lesson, not everything is better with bacon, in fact the really good stuff needs nothing superfluous at all. Some things are about tradition, culture, nostalgia, there are some things my friends that we just can’t improve on. So today is my faki style lentil soup redemption, and if you’ve never had them this way, you are in for a treat.
1 lb bag of dried brown lentils, yep old run o’ mill $1 a bag kind
1 large onion, diced
5 yes 5 cloves of garlic, minced
2 carrots, peeled, diced
2 ribs of celery, diced
10 cups of stock or water or both, I used 5 cups chicken stock and 5 cups of water
1 6oz can tomato paste
6 whole cloves
2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp pepper
1 tsp red pepper flake
¼ cup olive oil, extra for drizzling
4tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp dried oregano
In a heavy bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat, sauté onions and garlic till translucent, add carrots, celery, red pepper flakes and tomato paste, cook 2 minutes, add all of your liquid, rinsed and inspected lentils (you don’t want tiny rocks in your soup), bring to a boil, then simmer 1 ½ hours. Add salt (adjust to taste, depending on how salty your cooking liquid is), pepper, and oregano, add vinegar. Drizzle with a bit more oil and serve, you can add chopped parsley to beautify it, but not if you are serving it to my dad…maybe just a bit more dried oregano and maybe a drizzle of hot sauce (go with personal preference). This is great with a rustic bread or even your pantry staple saltines.