To me, this is soup, even though for some it might be a stew!
Whatever you like to call it, it is pretty awesome.
This is the first time I cooked with lentils.
There are several types of lentils, each has its own cooking time and specifications, I find the brown one to be perfect for this soup, which is actually a mix between what my mom cooks often at home and what I have been able to find on the internet.
There are not too many ingredients here, but the taste is rich and balanced, quite fulfilling meal, too, but there are a few guidelines one must follow in order to succeed with the preparation.
Tips & tricks
- The salt is always added at the end of the cooking, when the lentils are already nice and softened, otherwise, if you add it at the beginning you'll end up with a hard lentil soup, and we DEFINITELY don't want that!
- Add the pelati about 10 minutes before the end of cooking, because the tomatoes can also play a role in hardening the lentils.
I've seen people adding it at the beginning of cooking and I also tried it that way, but my lentils didn't cook properly and weren't entirely softened. It just wasn't it.
This way I am safer that the soup will be succesful each time!
I served my soup with a side of flat bread that I sliced in 4 pieces and spreaded with olive oil, garlic and parsley & I diced some feta cheese in, as well.
I can't help myself, bulgarian genes, people!
- 1 onion
- 1 big or 2 smaller leeks
- 3 big cloves of garlic
- 2 middle sized carrots
- 250 g brown lentils
- extra virgin olive oil
- Himalayan salt
- black pepper
- 3 dried bay leaves
- dried powdered cumin
- cayenne pepper, optional
- dried chubritsa or savory, optional. I sprinkeld some on my feta cheese before adding it to my plate, but my mom uses it as a spice at the beginning of the cooking process. This time I used bay leaves, but sometimes I like to add just a little bit as well in the soup.
*Chubritsa is used very much in bulgarian cuisine, it has a specific aromatic taste and works well agains flatulence, which in this case can happen because of the lentils.
We like to use it when seasoning our salads, potatoes, other stews, feta...almost anyhing will work, but then it is often mixed with other spices and vegetables and salt, so we call it šarena sol/colorful salt. I haven't found that in Croatia yet, but if you somehow do, please write to me.
1. Place the lentils in a bowl, cover it with water, stir nicely, drain and rinse.
2. Dice the onion and leek in smaller pieces. I slice the leek into circles and then some more. Slice the garlic as well, it doesn't have to be too fine.
3. In your cooking pot, pour 2-3 tbsp of olive oil, add the onion and leek and stir. In the meantime, slice the clean carrots in half, lenght-wise and then into smaller slices. Add both the carrots and garlic into the pot. Stir and saute for a few minutes to soften. Be careful not to burn the garlic, if needed add a few tbsp of water.
4. Add 2-3 bay leaves, depending on the size, half a tsp of powdered cumin and stir. You can also add a pinch of cayenne, but since it is pretty strong, I wouldn't go nuts with it, you can add it in the process of cooking,too and taste to see it you even like the soup to be a little spicy or not.
5. Add the lentils and 1,5 l of water. Cover the pot and let it simmer for about 35 minutes.
6. After 35 minutes, you can try the lentils, it should be softened already, add the sliced pelati with 3-5 tbsp of tomato sauce from the jar. Stir and leave it to cook for additional 10 minutes.
7. Season with salt and pepper ( cayenne optional).
8. Serve the soup as it is, or with a side of homemade flat bread and feta cheese with chubritsa. :D