Sunday, 18 May 2008

Weekend Herb Blogging - Lemon Parsley Lentil Soup

For my contribution to this week's Weekend Herb Blogging, I have recreated a lemony parsley lentil soup that I had about 20 years ago in a falafel shop. I know that 20 years is a long time to think about a soup and really too long for a self confessed foodie to try to recreate an enjoyable recipe, but sometimes it takes a little shove, like from Kalyn from Kalyn's Kitchen - mother of weekend herb blogging - to take a long hard look at the parsley growing in my garden and think of what would best showcase it on this cool, rainy weekend.
This soup was a big hit with my family, especially with my daughter, the semi-vegetarian, who's favorite food happens to be lentils. I kid you not. I served it with some caraway rye rolls but any hearty bread would be a nice accompaniment. The stand out part of this soup is that the fresh elements - the parsley, lemon, tomato and garlic - are added at the end, maintaining their bright, bold flavours.

This week's Weekend Herb Blogging host is Gay from A Scientist in the Kitchen. Check out her site to find some yummy dishes from around the world starring herbs.

Lemon Parsley Lentil Soup - serves 4-6
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, halved and sliced
1 rib celery, sliced
1 large carrot, diced
1 tsp salt
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock, or a mix of the two.
1 cup lentils
1 diced tomato
4 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup chopped parsley
Black pepper

Rinse and pick over lentils.
In a small soup pot, heat vegetable oil on medium/high.
Add onions. Sauté until soft and starting to brown, about 10 minutes.
Add celery, carrots and 1 tsp salt. Sauté 5 minutes more.
Add stock and bring to a boil.
Add lentils and bring back to a boil.
Drop heat to gentle simmer and simmer until soft, about ½ hour.
Add tomato and garlic, heat through. Add lemon juice and parsley, heat through.
Season to taste and serve.

Wikipedia -Parsley, Companion plant
Parsley is widely used as a companion plant in gardens. Like many other umbellifers, it attracts predatory insects, including wasps and predatory flies to gardens, which then tend to protect plants nearby. They are especially useful for protecting tomato plants, for example the wasps that kill tomato hornworms also eat nectar from parsley. While parsley is biennial, not blooming until its second year, even in its first year it is reputed to help cover up the strong scent of the tomato plant, reducing pest attraction.

Check out the round-up for Weekend Herb Blogging #133 to see what else is cooking!