If you are looking for a 100% predictably wonderful lentil soup recipe, then look no further. This comes from a Greek cookbook, The Foods of the Greek Islands: Cooking and Culture at the Crossroads of the Mediterranean by Aglaia Kremezi. This particular cookbook is ranked #2 in a list of 8 for the best Greek cookbooks in publication. The recipe is one reason it deserves that distinction.
I have shared this recipe before but think it’s worth another mention. I made this soup a couple of days ago and used Swiss chard from my garden instead of the spinach. It was equally as good. I often serve this with honey-sweetened cornbread and a salad. It is a fabulous, nutritious meal.
I think the vinegar and cumin, which are both optional, make the soup exceptionally tasty, but not everybody loves these flavors. I would suggest if you’re iffy on these, then just try a bit of both in a tester bowl before adding to the soup pot. You may be pleasantly surprised how much depth of flavor these two ingredients add.
If you should try the recipe, please let me know. I’d love to hear your experiences with this fabulous soup.
Faki Soupa Me Spanaki
Lentil Soup with Spinach
Makes 6 to 8 Servings
2 cups brown lentils, picked over and rinsed
1/3 cup olive oil
½ cup chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
½ cup grated tomatoes or canned diced tomatoes with their juice
½ cup dry red wine
1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 bay leaf
11/2 pounds spinach, stemmed
Pinch of cumin (optional)
1-3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
Place the lentils in a large saucepan and add cold water to cover. Bring to boil, remove from the heat and let stand for 15 minutes. Drain.
In a large pot, heat the oil and sauté the onion over medium heat until just soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute more; do not let it color. Add the lentils, tomatoes, wine, Aleppo pepper or pepper flakes and salt to taste. Bring to a boil, add the stock, thyme, mustard and bay leaf and return to boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.
Add the spinach and cumin, if using, and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes more, or until the spinach is wilted. Add the vinegar and black pepper to taste. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
This is my variation with swiss chard instead of spinach
Honey-sweetened cornbread, salad and lentil soup with swiss chard