Archives for Soups

This makes LOTS of soup. But it is really tasty.

  • 1 lb. dried red lentils
  • 12 c. water
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 2 c. chopped onions
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 c. bulgur/ couscous
  • 4 c. vegetable stock
  • 2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tblsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 – 28 oz. can chopped tomatoes with juice
  • 2 tblsp. tomato paste
  • 1 c. chopped parsley
  • 3 tblsp lemon juice or pepper-infused vinegar


  1. In a huge stockpot (5 qts), bring to a boil 12 cups of water. Add the lentils and 2 teaspoon salt. Simmer for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile in a 3 or 4 qt. pot, saute onions, garlic, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt in the olive oil until slightly brown. Add the bulgur, pepper and cayenne. (If you are using rice instead of bulgur, don’t add it just yet.) Stir until well combined and slightly toasted. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, and stock. Simmer 15 minutes.
  3. Add tomato mixture, chopped parsley, and rice (if using) to the lentils, and simmer for 30 minutes or until tender.
  4. Before serving, stir in lemon juice or vinegar (see my recipe for pepper infused vinegar under Easiest Chickpea Salad Ever). Taste for salt and pepper. Garnish with more chopped parsley if desired.

This is my favorite split pea soup recipe. The recipe is from James Peterson’s Splendid Soups and it yields a bright green light soup. I always half this recipe, which makes about 4 servings. I use bacon, not pancetta, and I skip the straining in the third direction.


  • 1/2 pounds slab bacon or pancetta (unrolled), rind removed, cut into 1×1/4″ strips
  • 1/4 cup olive oil if you’re using pancetta
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 cups green split peas
  • 2 quarts chicken broth or water
  • 1 clove
  • 1 bouquet garni
  • 2 10 oz packages of frozen peas
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • salt
  • pepper


  1. Cook the bacon in a 4-quart pot over medium heat until it just begins to turn crisp, about 10 minutes. If you’re using pancetta, cook it in olive oil, because it doesn’t provide enough fat of its own. Remove the strips with a slotted spoon and reserve.
  2. Cook the onions in the fat left in the pot until they soften and turn translucent, about 15 minutes. Add the split peas, broth, clove, and bouquet garni, cover the pot, and simmer for about 1 hour, until the split peas are completely soft.
  3. Add the frozen peas and heavy cream and bring to the soup to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes and puree, a bit at a time, in a blender or food processor. Strain the puree through a medium-mesh trainer. If you want to thin the soup, strain it through a fine-mesh strainer or simply thin it with extra broth or water.
  4. Season with salt and pepper, ladle into individual bowls, and garnish with the reserved bacon or pancetta and, if you like, croutons sizzled in butter.

We made this for our Christmas Eve Seven Fishes dinner. Just pretend that shrimp and lobster are fish. We did not use live lobster but found a container of frozen lobster that tasted quite good cooked. We didn’t make croutons but toasted slices of baguette and spread them with roasted garlic. This recipe is from Gourmet.

For croutons
12 to 16 (1/2-inch-thick) baguette slices
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, halved

For soup
1 (1- to 1 1/4 -lb) live lobster
2 large tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb boiling potatoes
1/3 cup finely chopped fennel fronds (sometimes called anise)
1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
1 1/2 tablespoons coarse sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
9 cups fish stock
3 pounds white fish fillets (such as monkfish, turbot, red snapper, striped bass, porgy, grouper, and/or cod), cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 pound cockles or small hard-shelled clams, scrubbed
1/2 pound cultivated mussels, scrubbed and any beards removed
1/2 pound large shrimp in shells
Rouille: Recipe Below

Make croutons:
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 250°F.

Arrange bread slices in 1 layer in a shallow baking pan and brush both sides with oil. Bake until crisp, about 30 minutes. Rub 1 side of each toast with a cut side of garlic.

Make soup:
Plunge lobster headfirst into a 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling water, then cook, covered, 2 minutes from time lobster enters water. Transfer lobster with tongs to a colander and let stand until cool enough to handle. Discard hot water in pot. Put lobster in a shallow baking pan. Twist off claws with knuckles from body, then crack claws with a mallet or rolling pin and separate claws from knuckles. Halve body and tail lengthwise through shell with kitchen shears, then cut crosswise through shell into 2-inch pieces. Reserve lobster juices that accumulate in baking pan.

Cook tomatoes, onion, and garlic in oil in cleaned 6- to 8-quart pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Meanwhile, peel potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Stir potatoes into tomatoes with fennel fronds, bay leaf, saffron, sea salt, and pepper. Add stock and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until potatoes are almost tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

Add thicker pieces of fish and cockles to soup and simmer, covered, 2 minutes. Stir in mussels, shrimp, lobster, including juices, and remaining fish and simmer, covered, until they are just cooked through and mussels open wide, about 5 minutes.

Stir 3 tablespoons broth from soup into rouille until blended.

Arrange 2 croutons in each of 6 to 8 deep soup bowls. Carefully transfer fish and shellfish from soup to croutons with a slotted spoon, then ladle some broth with vegetables over seafood.

Top each serving with 1 teaspoon rouille and serve remainder on the side.


Yield: Makes about 1/2 cup

Active Time: 15 min
Total Time: 15 min


3 tablespoons water
3/4 cup coarse fresh bread crumbs (preferably from a baguette, crust removed)
3 garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


Pour water over bread crumbs in a bowl. Mash garlic to a paste with sea salt and cayenne using a mortar and pestle. Add moistened bread crumbs and mash into garlic paste.

Add oil in a slow stream, mashing and stirring vigorously with pestle until combined well.