Lentil Soup

I came across this wonderful lentil soup and made it tonight for tomorrow with homemade foccacio. It made the kitchen smell so warm and homey.  I included the original receipt but cut everything down to proportion and added things to my own taste to serve 4 and listed it after the original.

 from Mary Smith’s Cookery Book, “The complete house-keeper, and professed cook, calculated for the greater ease and assistance of ladies, house-keepers, cooks, etc. By Mary Smith, late house keeper to Sir Walter Blackett” 1772.

  • Cut six heads of celery,  three onions,  two turnips, one carrot and one parsnip,  put them into a stewing pan with a quarter of a pound of butter, one slice of ham, and a pint of lentils, set it on a stove for half and hour.
  • Put in two quarts of broth, and let it stew slowly for two hours.
  • Strain the broth into a deep dish, put the roots and lentils into a mortar, and pound them, work them through the sieve with a little of the broth with a wooden spoon,
  • Put your soup into a stew pan, with a crust of French roll, let it simmer for a quarter of an hour, and serve it up hot.

To serve 4:

  • 1 lb. green lentils; washed and picked over
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil and one tbs butter
  •  1/2 bag of country ham pieces
  • 1 md. yellow onion; peeled and diced
  • 1 large stalk celery, chopped fine
  • 1 lg. carrot; grated
  • 1 medium to large turnip, cut into small pieces
  • 1 large or 2 medium parsnips, sliced
  • Beef or veggie broth to cover the lentils to an inch or so
  • Zest and juice of 1 large lemon
  • pinch of cayenne or dash of hot sauce
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 fresh lemon; cut into quarters
  • In a dutch oven, heat the olive oil and butter together

     Sauté diced onion, celery and ham until the onion  begins to brown.

     Add lentils, grated carrots, lemon zest, a teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. Add enough broth to cover lentils to a depth of about an inch or a little more.

     Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium low, cover, and cook for two hours, stirring occasionally and adding, as necessary, enough additional stock or water to keep the lentils under 1/2 inch of liquid.

     Remove from heat . Taste and adjust seasoning, then using an immersion blender or ricer, puree the lentils a little

     Serve with lemon wedges.