Friday, November 9, 2012

Sopa de Lentejas (Lentil & Spinach Soup)


I probably shouldn't complain about how cold it is here in Small Town, Mexico, since technically our daytime high's are somewhere in the 80's, which in some places is still shorts and flip-flops kind of weather.  But that's not the case here.  Our morning and evening temperatures drop drastically to somewhere between the high 40's and low 50's. For us that's practically freezing, so we bundle up with knit hats and gloves, and thick, woolly scarves.  And since Mexico uses the metric system, our degrees are in Celsius, which makes the temps seem even colder.  I'm sure you'll agree that 10 degrees Celsius sounds way colder, with visions of icicles dancing in your head, than 50 degrees Fahrenheit.  

Thank goodness for hearty soups like Sopa de Lentejas (Lentil Soup), made with bacon, spinach, and a few extra veggies for added flavor to help keep us warm.    

Not only are lentils high in protein, my suegra (mother-in-law) used to say that lentils are also a great way to lose weight.  She'd then go on to tell the "story" of how a local doctor often prescribed a cup of lentils a day to anyone who wanted to lose weight.   But the catch is that you aren't allowed to actually eat the lentils.  You're supposed to just drop them on the floor, then bend over to pick them up.  One. at. a. time!  

Now, I don't know if that little trick actually works, but my suegra enjoyed telling that joke every time she cooked with lentils, and I remembered it the other day as I was preparing this Sopa de Lentejas that my family loved!  



Sopa de Lentejas (Lentil & Spinach Soup)
(Recipe adapted from Muy Bueno Cookbook)

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups dried lentils
  • 2 ribs celery
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 10 cups water
  • 6 slices bacon, cut in 1-inch pieces
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 3 roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 serrano chile, finely chopped (optional) 
  • 1 cup roughly chopped spinach (espinacas) and/or Swiss chard (acelgas) (I used both.)
Directions:
Sort through the lentils to remove any rocks or debris.  Rinse lentils in a colander with cold water.

Fill a 3 to 4-quart stockpot with 10 cups of water.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Add the lentils, celery ribs, and garlic; reduce heat to low.  Cover the stockpot and let simmer until the lentils are tender.  (About 20 minutes.)

While the lentils are cooking, cook the bacon in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until crisp.  Transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate.  Remove most of the bacon drippings from the skillet, leaving just enough to coat the skillet.

Add the carrots and tomatoes to the skillet and saute for about 5 minutes. Add the chopped onion and serrano chile; saute for 2 to 3 minutes or until the onion has turned translucent.

Season the lentils with salt.

Using a potato masher, mash some of the lentils (to help thicken the soup) until desired consistency.  Stir in the cooked bacon, carrots, tomato, and onion.  Cover and let simmer about 15 to 20 minutes.  Once the lentils are fully cooked and the soup flavors have combined, stir in the spinach and/or Swiss chard.  Season with more salt, if necessary.  

Enjoy!!!  



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6 comments:

  1. Almost exactly how my mom taught me! I'm having lentils today for sure! -marcia

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  2. Leslie, that is a beautiful soup. I love lentils. I must give this a try. I usually use a Columbian recipe that uses lentils, rice and coconut milk to make a creamy stew. I love the header, too.

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  3. Hi Laurie! This lentil soup turned out just like the kind my grandpa used to make, with the added bonus of spinach. (Which I loved!) That Columbian recipe for lentils sounds pretty good. Maybe one day you'll share your recipe with me. :)

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  4. Debs @ The Spanish WokNovember 10, 2012 at 10:27 AM

    Fab recipe, I do love a good lentil soup, thanks have pinned it.

    Come check out The Monthly Blogger event over at The Spanish Wok, ALL bloggers are welcome. See here for details and current theme. You are also welcome to visit our FB page too here.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Victoria of Flavors of the SunNovember 10, 2012 at 10:35 AM

    Nice recipe, Leslie. Thanks for sharing. In the area I live in Mexico, cooks often slice bananas into lentil soup. I've never seen that elsewhere though.

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  6. Thank you Leslie the receipe was yummy...my kids are very grateful I came across your website ;)

    ReplyDelete

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