real life test kitchen: french lentil soup


I am always intrigued by recipes put up on Chowhound. I consider it the bastion of foodieism and therefore expect that there recipes be superb. This one is! I’ve been making lentil soup since I was old enough to see the top of the stove. I’ve made it Greek style with lemon, Middle Eastern style with lots of cumin and a version using blade steak cut into cubes which made it more like a lentil stew. I however have never made it in the french style, using what the french lentil refered to as Verte du Puy. There is even a very amusing french website that is devoted entirely to this bean!

After trying this french version of the lentil, I wouldn’t even consider making this recipe without tracking them down. They were wonderful and much more refined in taste and texture then the standard lentil. I also bought some hungarian paprika as the recipe called for and was suprised at how much more fragrant it was then the standard paprika which I always thought added more color than flavor. Lastly, I made one tiny alteration by adding two capfuls of cider vinegar. I always like a tiny bit of acidity with beans, it adds to the depth of the recipe. Enjoy!! (Click here for the recipe at Chowhound) — Holly D.

From our partners

We make a very similar recipe but with an Italian flavor (see Giada’s recipe for this) We add celery, fresh baby spinach, and top with a grating of parmigiano reggiano.

Anne (in Reno)

Good on ya for finding the real paprika! Typical paprika is mild and sweet, and even sweet Hungarian paprika has much more flavor. But be careful, if you look hard enough you can find the hot Hungarian paprika and it’s quite a surprise! I use a mix of the hot and sweet to make Hungarian sausage, and I mix the hot with cumin and chili powder when I’m making tacos. It’s great stuff to have around! I never buy the lame Spanish kind, it’s really more for color, IMHO.