Friday, December 30, 2011

New Year's Eve Soup

Last year, I posted about a tradition that Italians have of eating lentils and pork sausages on New Year's Eve.  The shape of the lentils are said to resemble Roman coins, and the sausage casings are akin to small sacs to carry around the wealth.  I mentioned as well that the representation of wealth referred not only to monetary wealth, but wealth in all areas of life.

I'm hoping to post a new recipe tomorrow featuring lentils and sausage, but I'm a bit under the weather.  In case I don't get around to cooking something new, here's last year's post and recipe for the yummy lentil soup (that can be vegetarian if the sausages are left out) that is eaten traditionally either on New Year's Eve or New Year's day. 

Who couldn't use a bit more wealth in every area of life for the New Year?

Here's The Recipe (First posted December 30, 2010)

Ingredients:
olive oil
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
1 cup green lentils, washed
1 package frozen, chopped spinach
1 can tomatoes (diced, not crushed)
4-6 cups vegetable broth (1 1/2 boxes)- /if serving more than four, up the broth content
1/4 cup each chopped fresh basil and parsley, or 1 tsp each dried herbs
salt and pepper to taste
optional: 1/4 tsp dried red pepper flakes

Directions

1. Pour enough olive oil to lightly coat the bottom of a large soup pot.  Over medium-low heat, cook onions until soft.  Add garlic and saute for 1 minute.  Add lentils and stir to cover with oil.
2. Add 4 cups of broth and stir in herbs.  Unwrap frozen spinach and place in the pot.  It will defrost in the pot, just break up with  spoon when soft.  Bring soup to a boil and then lower to a simmer until lentils are soft.
3. Add tomatoes and juice and heat through.  Add salt and pepper to taste, and optional red pepper flakes if using.  If you don't like pieces of tomatoes in your soup, then puree the whole can first or strain the chunks out and just add juice.
4. If the soup is too thick, add the remaining two cups of broth.  Heat through and serve.


My hearty lentil soup!


Non-vegan options:
Top with some grated Parmesan cheese and some sausage medallions.  To make medallions:
Fry whole sausages (Italian style pork sausages are traditional, check labels for gluten) in a non-stick pan until cooked through.  When done, remove from pan and slice into medallions.  Garnish bowls of soup with a few medallions.

Can't wait to eat some tomorrow night!

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