While I am finishing my studies in Chinese Medicine, I work part time in a gourmet grocery/deli. Some may think this a rather humble vocation, but out of all my bitsy casual jobs, and even career-driven jobs, this one is in the top two. I love it because I’m surrounded by awesome food all day long. I get to talk to customers about their food ideas and ways to use our products, whether it be solicited or unsolicited. And that’s how I got the idea for this soup. A woman came to the register with red lentils and some pancetta I had just sliced for her, so I asked if she was using them together. Sure enough, yes she was. The recipe is pretty simple, so simple she told me in a 30 second conversation at the register. I love red lentils and the texture they create, so I resolved then and there that I’m going to make it, adding my own flare.
~ Red Lentil Soup with Pancetta ~
2 medium carrots, diced
2 sticks celery including leaves, diced
1 medium onion, diced
100g pancetta*, diced (get your deli to slice you 2-3 medium – thick slices, thick enough to be diced). Get a nice smokey one.
2 tsp smokey paprika
1 large ripe tomato, diced
1 c. red lentils, rinsed
1Lt water or veg stock
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
- Saute carrot, celery and onion and a good pinch of salt in a large glug of olive oil for about 15 minutes until flavours nicely melded.
- Add pancetta and render the fat (I’m not fat phobic so I don’t drain it off. And it’s also added flavour). Cook for about 2 minutes.
- Add red lentils and paprika. Stir to coat with oil and integrate, then add water or stock, the bay leaf, and a good few grinds of black pepper.
- Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes with the lid on.
- Add the diced tomato and cook a further 15 minutes with the lid on. If the soup is looking too thick add more water/stock (those lentils are little devils and can soak up a lot of liquid).
- Check for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
- Serve with a drizzle of olive oil, lots of fresh parsley, and Phillipa’s Green Olive Toscano
*omit if Vegetarian / Vegan (it’s still just as good)
♥ Gluten Free…♥ Vegetarian…♥ Vegan…♥ Damp…♥ Spleen Qi deficiency…♥ Protein…♥ Adrenal exhaustion…♥ Jing…♥ Candida…♥ Heat…♥ Fire Element…♥ Heart…♥ Circulation…♥ Promote bowels
If you are very thin, suffer with extreme dryness or frail please avoid legumes as they’re diuretics and drying. Alternatively you can serve or prepare legumes with oily foods which counters drying properties of legumes.
If you suffer intolerance to legumes, preparing beans with bay leaf, onion, and/or kombu can help improve digestibility. Regular consumption will also improve your tolerance.