31 January 2007

Bulgarian Lentil Soup

I made this last Sunday, and thought I'd already added it to the cookbook, but apparently not, so here it is.


1 medium sized onion
2 tbsp oil
2 tbsp sweet paprika
1 l water
250 g unpeeled green dried lentils
2 - 3 cloves of garlic
1 large carrot
2 small green peppers
1 small celeriac or 4 - 5 Jerusalem artichokes (optional)
salt, pepper, parsley, dill, savory

  1. Soak the lentils for at least 2 h in water, preferably overnight.
  2. Dice the onion, carrot, peppers and celeriac or Jerusalem artichokes, but keep each separate.
  3. Heat up the oil and fry the onion in it. Press in the garlic as well.
  4. When the onion/garlic have gone translucent, add the paprika, stir vigorously for about a minute and add the water - you need to have these ready, if the paprika is fried for too long, it burns and doesn't taste as nice. The water can be cold/room temperature, but it would speed things up a bit if it's hot. I never bother with that, though.
  5. Add the soaked lentils and carrots and whichever of the herbs that are dried. Also add the celeriac, if you decide to use this. I don't like celeriac, so I don't use it.
  6. Bring to the boil and leave to simmer for 15 - 20 minutes.
  7. Now add the pepper and leave to simmer for another 5 - 10 minutes.
  8. Add the Jerusalem artichokes and leave to simmer for further 5 - 10 minutes. Also add the fresh herbs, after chopping them. This is a new invention, I had some Jerusalem artichokes left over and I added them and it tasted really nice. You can skip them if you don't like them. It's important not to let them boil for more than 10 minutes, so that they don't disintegrate.
The soup is now ready and is nice on it's own. Some people add vinegar just before eating.

As usual, Lundulph needs meat and this week-end I got him a nice piece of unsmoked gammon, which I roasted as recommended in Delia Smith's 'How to cook'. I got two pieces of aluminium foil, placed them in a cross, put a bunch of thyme, sage and black pepper in the middle, placed the gammon on top, then put more thyme, sage and black pepper over it and wrapped up the foil into a parcel. Baked in the oven at gas mark 4 (180 degrees Celsius) for 1 h (Delia recommends 20 minutes per 1 lb meat + 20 minutes on top of that). Then I unwrapped the gammon, scraped off the herbs on the top and put it back in for another 30 minutes on gas mark 7 (230 degrees Celsius) to give it a bit of colour. Not sure if this was a good idea, it just seemed to try out. Lundulph said it was rather nice.

Next time he's asked me to cook the meat with the soup, so that it can pick up some of the flavours. We agreed to try thin strips of chicken or turkey breast.

I had the last of the soup today, so there's nothing to photograph. Sorry, will try to remember to add some next time.

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