[Revisiting] Spiced French Green Lentil, Parsnip and Carrot Soup with Bacon
November 10, 2011 § 4 Comments
I recently went through some of my posts from last winter to get some cold weather inspiration and came across a lentil soup I made in the new year. Despite the lacking photographs, I instantly remembered the soup’s flavor and how much I loved it. It was immediately worked into this week’s meal plan. I made some positive changes to the soup to make this version my new go-to. I added parsnips to the mix; any sweet, mild root vegetable would work nicely here, celariac perhaps. I swapped smoked paprika for sweet paprika (pimenton) just because. Either do well but each bring something a little bit different. The overall flavor is still smokey and spicy from the cayenne. I wouldn’t suggest omitting the bacon for a vegetarian version because it creates very meaty flavor and is completely satisfying. This is a perfect soup to make in a large batch to freeze for future filling lunches.
The change really made the difference was swapping regular green lentils for french green lentils. Let me tell you right now, all lentils are not created equal! I have only used regular red and green lentils in the past, but I decided to get french green lentils when they were on sale. I have heard people rave about these, but I always stuck with the cheaper option. It isn’t as though french green lentils are expensive; they might be $1.00/lb more than other varieties. I just never felt the need to try them when I enjoyed the cheaper lentils. These beautiful forest green legumes stand up to long cooking processes and retain a tender bite rather than becoming mush. They also don’t have the starchy taste that other lentils have (especially when overcooked). These characteristics would let the lentils shine in a salad, but they are also incredibly appetizing and satisfying in a soup.
1 year ago, today: Roasted Potatoes Pont Neuf with Apple Barbecue Sauce
Spiced French Green Lentil, Parsnip and Carrot Soup with Bacon:
originally adapted from Three Many Cooks
- 4 oz bacon, small dice
- 1 onion, small dice
- 2 carrots, small dice
- 2 parsnips, small dice
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp sweet paprika (pimenton)
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- 1 pound french green lentils
- 2 quarts + 1 cup stock
- salt and pepper
- sour cream, asiago cheese for serving
Heat a heavy-bottomed saucepan and cook bacon, stirring often, until crisp. Add onion and cook until softened. Add carrots, parsnips and garlic and cook until softened. Add garlic, paprika, cumin, turmeric and cayenne and stir until fragrant, 30 second to 1 minute. Add lentils and stock and bring to a boil, down to a heavy simmer. Continue to cook uncovered until lentils are tender and the liquid has reduced. Puree 8 cups of the soup and return to pot to incorporate. Season to taste and serve with freshly grated asiago cheese.