One of the main characteristics of Greek cuisine is the abundant presence and use of legumes with beans, lentils, chickpeas, fava beans and broad beans being the most common ones. Greeks eat legumes at least once a week , mainly in the form of a soup. But we also find them baked, mashed or in salads as a main ingredient. Today we’ ve got an all time favourite , which is considered as a staple of our cuisine. Greek kids love it, and believe it or not it’s hard to find one who’d say ‘’no’’ to a bowl of lentil soup, especially if it’s made by their dear granny! (Actually it’s even harder to say ‘’no’’ to a Greek granny!). It seems that our dearest sweet grandmothers know very well that lentils are a good source of iron, hence their insisting on cooking this soup for their grandchildren so often!
As such, Greek lentil soup is simple and easy to make. To be honest, simplicity is the key ‘’ingredient’’ in Greek cuisine in general. But what makes this soup extremely tasty is the final touch: a splash of good quality vinegar when finally cooked!
Greek lentil soup
Ingredients (serves 6)
½ kilo lentils
3-4 cloves garlic minced
1 large onion finely chopped
2 medium carrots diced
vegetable stock (about 6 cups- the amount of stock depends on how thick we want the soup to be)
2 bay leaves
1 can crushed tomatoes
½ cup ‘’esti’’ extra virgin olive oil
3-4 tablespoons ‘’esti’’ balsamic vinegar
Place the lentils in a large soup pot, add water and bring it to a boil. Let it boil for about 3-4 minutes, then drain the lentils, and place them again in the pot. Add the vegetable stock, tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, onion, bay leaves and carrots and leave to simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour (it always depends on the hardness of the lentil). When cooked stir in the vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add more vinegar if desired.
Info: When served it is usually accompanied with Kalamata olive oils.