When life gets stressful, my first reaction is to cook. Somehow knowing I have solid food around to eat helps me to calm down. I have no idea where any of that comes from, but threaten my home and hearth or make me worry about our current political situation and you’ll find me heading to the kitchen where I start sauteing onions and garlic. There may not be a better or more comforting smell in the world than these two ingredients, at least for me.
Here is one of my favorite recipes, which I have posted on this blog before. I made it again today along with cornbread, and it was delicious, as usual. So, with that high endorsement, here is the recipe.
This comes from The Foods of the Greek Islands: Cooking and Culture at the Crossroads of the Mediterranean by Aglaia Kremezi. This particular cookbook is ranked #2 in a list of 8 for the best Greek cookbooks in publication. The recipe is one reason it deserves that distinction.
Faki Soupa Me Spanaki
Lentil Soup with Spinach
Makes 6 to 8 Servings
2 cups brown lentils, picked over and rinsed
1/3 cup olive oil
½ cup chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
½ cup grated tomatoes or canned diced tomatoes with their juice
½ cup dry red wine
1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 bay leaf
11/2 pounds spinach, stemmed
Pinch of cumin (optional)
1-3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
Place the lentils in a large saucepan and add cold water to cover. Bring to boil, remove from the heat and let stand for 15 minutes. Drain.
In a large pot, heat the oil and sauté the onion over medium heat until just soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute more; do not let it color. Add the lentils, tomatoes, wine, Aleppo pepper or pepper flakes and salt to taste. Bring to a boil, add the stock, thyme, mustard and bay leaf and return to boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.
Add the spinach and cumin, if using, and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes more, or until the spinach is wilted. Add the vinegar and black pepper to taste. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
Recommended to serve with a cured fish, such as smoked trout.
If you make the recipe, then be sure and let me know how it turns out.
I’ll be checking back in again tomorrow.