July 25, 2006

Chestnut & Lentil Soup

Beans (of the legume and pulse variety) are a staple in many cuisines around the world. They are so versatile , they can be pureed into stews and soups, scattered in salads, mashed into dips, stuffed into burritos. Some of my most favorite meals to eat and cook is made with beans: fabada (spanish white bean stew) , lentejas (lentil soup) , feijoada (Brazilian/Portuguese bean stew), dahl (indian stew which can be made from a variety of beans), hummus (chickpea dip) , baked beans, and monggo (Filipino mung bean soup).

All of the above are to me, comfort food. There is nothing like a bowl of fabada or lentejas or monggo to nourish and warm my tummy on a cold and rainy day. And last Sunday was such a day with typhoon Glenda howling outside and beating down on our tin roof. I decided it was the perfect day to try out Clotilde's recipe for chestnut and lentil soup, which is her version of Maki's recipe.

The only way I have ever cooked lentils was the Spanish way which is with olive oil, chorizo (sometimes even ham or bacon) and garlic. I loved this hearty dish so much I never dreamed of having my lentils any other way. The mere thought seemed almost sacrilegious. But this recipe begged to be tried. The idea of mixing chestnuts into a stew just sounded too good to brush aside. Here's the recipe as I made it:

Chestnut and Lentil Soup
250 g green lentils
100 g chestnuts (should be 200g but this is all I had)
2 onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
6 cups hot water
2 pork bouillon cubes
1 tsp thyme
2 dry bay leaves
olive oil
salt & pepper, to taste
1 tsp honey (optional)
1 tsp yoghurt (or creme fraiche)

In a large saucepan, heat up some olive oil and cook the onions and garlic on medium heat until translucent, for about ten minutes.

Add the water, the bouillon cubes, the lentils, the herbs, a bit of salt and a bit of pepper. Bring to a boil, and let it simmer gently for 20 minutes. Add the chestnuts and cook for another 40 minutes, or until lentils are soft.

Remove the bay leafs then transfer some or all of the soup in the food processor and mix it slightly or to your desired consistency. I prefer my soup chunky so I did a couple of quick pulses on the blender.

Return the mixed soup to the pot, add the yoghurt, and stir over low heat until it is nicely blended.

(Serves 4.)

It turned out wonderful served with some sourdough bread. Even my folks enjoyed it. It has a nice sweet, creamy taste that just soothes the grey away. I only wish I had more chestnuts to add.

Thank you Maki and Clotilde for sharing this yummy recipe with us. :)

By the way, if you are having difficulty finding chestnuts in Manila this time of year, I got mine at Lord Stowe's bakery in Market! Market!. They come in foil packets of 100g.


travel plaza said...

Mmm sounds delicious. But at the cost of sounding totally ignorant, I have to ask, what are bouillon cubes. I have never heard of them. But we do eat a lot of lentils and beans. So I'd like to try any new recipe...and yours sounds yummy.

christine said...

hi TP, it really is delcious.I think you'd like it too. Bouillon cubes are stock cubes. I just used Knorr cubes. :) If you have your own vegetable broth, just lessen the cups of water accordingly. :)

travel plaza said...

Wow! Thanks Christine. I'm vegetarian so I wasn't sure about the cubes..but I'm sure I can find some from Knorr..I'll definitely try it out:))

christine said...

You're welcome! Let me know if you like it. :)

Anonymous said...

Nice Nens! I have read this recipe of Clotilde's, great that you tried it out :) Sounds yummy nga!

Anonymous said...

There's something very comforting about cooking a pot of soup on a stormy day. Of course, right now it's so hot where I am that I can't imagine cooking anything but I look forward to rainy days in fall when I can begin cooking soups again.

By the way, your chestnut and lentil soup sounds delicious.

christine said...

Hi Jo! It is and I know you'd like it too. :)

Hi Julie, I did hear about the heat wave you're all experiencing over there. I've been through 2 heat waves in my life so I know how bad it can get. Hope you're keeping yourself cool and comfortable!