I popped into a neighborhood shop when I was in Aix-en-Provence, France recently to pick up a few French staples – Fluer de Sel, Herbs de Provence, incredible black olive tapenade, and beautiful dried lentils and peas to bring back to Gary. I made them both into soups recently, then combined the two for this healthy, hearty and very tasty soup. I started with a base of bacon to add a hint of smokiness to the soup, but you can also just use olive oil if you prefer to keep it vegetarian. Pair with a Rose from Provence, like the fresh, light and aromatic Grenache/Cinsault based Mas de Cadenet Rose AOC Sainte Victoire and a soft and chewy baguette and you will feel transported to the French Riviera.
Split Pea and Lentil Soup
3 strips of smoky bacon, diced (optional)
1-2 tablespoons olive oil (if you don’t use bacon you will need about 2 tablespoons more olive oil)
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 celery ribs, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 sprig rosemary
4 sprigs thyme
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup green lentils, rinsed and picked through for any rocks
1 cup dried peas, rinsed and picked through for any rocks
8 cups low sodium vegetable or chicken stock
salt and pepper
Add the bacon to a stock pot over medium heat. Cook until the bacon is nice and crispy and the fat has rendered out. Remove half the bacon and drain on a paper towel, set aside to use as garnish. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the remaining bacon and add the onions, celery and carrots. Cook for about 4 minutes, stirring every minute or so. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and continue to cook another 5 minutes. Add the peas and lentils, stirring to coat with the oil and combining with the veggies. Season generously with salt and pepper. Tie the rosemary, thyme and bay leaf in a bundle and add to the pot. Cook for 2 minutes minutes with herbs then add the stock, bring to a boil then simmer for 30 – 45 minutes until the lentils and peas are cooked through and soft. Half way through the remaining cooking add the parsley. Remove the herb bundle. Adjust any final seasonings. Serve in large bowls with a sprinkle of bacon, parsley and fresh croutons. You can even add a can of white beans or chick peas if you like.
This makes me happy!
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