With a squeeze of lemon juice, this simple, satisfying, rustic-style winter soup is particularly refreshing.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 onions, roughly chopped
- 1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 500 g potatoes, roughly chopped
- 375 g Puy lentils (see Note), rinsed, drained
- 1.25 litres chicken stock
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- extra virgin olive oil, crusty bread and butter, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
In the absence of good chicken stock, make a vegetable stock by simmering mushrooms, an onion and bay leaf for 1 hour.
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium–high heat. Add onions and celery, and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute or until fragrant. If I had some pancetta, I’d add slivers of that, too, now.
Add potatoes, lentils and stock, and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium–low and simmer for 1 hour or until lentils are soft. If soup is becoming too thick, add some water.
When nearly cooked, add lemon juice and season with salt and ground black pepper. Ladle into bowls and drizzle over a thin swirl of extra-virgin olive oil. Serve soup hot with crusty bread and butter.
• Puy lentils are the small, green, French-style variety available from supermarkets.
Photography by Alan Benson.