By: Sue Anganes
With the days getting shorter and the weather getting colder, I enjoy cooking tasty soups. One of my favorites is cheap and very easy to make. I learned to make it from my Greek mother-in-law, Helen. While Helen was alive I spent so many afternoons in her cozy kitchen, dining on her ultimate peasant food: a meal of lentil soup accompanied by a big chunk of crusty bread. I always watched her cook. She really never had me help her, and she never wrote down any of her recipes, so the only way I’ve been able to recreate her dishes was from memory and experimentation. After much practice, I think I have her lentil soup recipe down pat and I’d love to share it with you.
Helen’s Lentil Soup
- 1 ½ tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
- 2 cups of brown lentils
- 1- 15 oz. can of diced tomatoes
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 6 cups of water oregano, salt, and pepper to taste
- 1 large sliced carrot (my kids don’t like it with carrots)
- 1 link Loukániko, diced (Greek pork sausage, flavored with wine and orange peel) or a bit of kielbasa
In a large soup pot heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, (carrots and loukániko if desired), and garlic, and cook until the onions are softened and golden (approximately 10 minutes). Stir in the lentils, tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, and water. Cook for 30 minutes, or until lentils are soft, stirring frequently. Add the salt and pepper after the lentils are completely cooked. Adding the salt first will toughen the lentils.
Serve with crusty bread, or in a pinch, saltines.
Enjoy this healthy, autumn delight!