by Sava

Ready or not, Halloween is here and you will undoubtedly have a lot of little monsters at your door Monday night! Here in Southern California we are experiencing very warm weather while some parts of the country are already having SNOW!! Seems early for that. We visited the pumpkin patch today with 2 of our little grandgoblins and sweltered! We still had lots of fun, though!

Reminiscing about Halloween, I thought about how early the kids start going door-to-door to get their bag of goodies. The temptation to sample some of those sweets is great and even with the best-laid plans of “everyone must wait until we get home to eat the candy”, there are slip-ups. When my kids were little I tried to make a one-pot dinner to have early before going out that would be nourishing and would make me feel better about those secret tastings. One of our favorites was lentil soup. It wasn’t always a favorite of mine as a kid, however. I never liked it, but in “those days” kids had to eat what was for dinner. No special meals for each whim. I had to eat that soup when my mother served it, so my Papou (grandfather) helped me out by making me a sandwich made of Greek bread with feta cheese, anchovies (very salty) and kalamata olives to eat with it. I would take one bite of it along with a spoon of soup until I had finished. Whew! I did it!! Funny, I really like lentil soup now but haven’t had one of those sandwiches for eons!

One historical fact about lentils is that they were introduced to Agathocles, King of Sicily in the 3rd century B.C. by a cook who received great honors as a result. When shopping for lentils, try to find the small red lentils. They happen to be grown in a village southeast of Kertezi, Peloponnese, where our paternal grandfather grew up and where we visited the last time we went to Greece. I love that connection!

Here is our recipe for lentil soup:

1 lb bag of lentils (pick over the lentils and wash well)                          1  14 oz can diced tomatoes

1/4 c olive oil                                                                                                          1/4 c chopped fresh parsley

3 medium onions chopped                                                                               8 c chicken broth

2 medium carrots chopped or 2 c shredded                                              1 large bay leaf

2 or 3 stalks of celery chopped                                                                        Salt & pepper to taste

2 garlic cloves chopped                                                                                      1/4 c red wine vinegar

dash red pepper flakes (optional)

In a large pot, heat 1/4 c olive oil and saute onions until translucent. Add carrots and celery and saute, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Add garlic, tomatoes, parsley, bay leaves, lentils and broth (hot pepper flakes if desired). Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to  low and simmer for 1 1/2 hours until lentils and veggies are very tender. Add more water or broth during cooking if too much gets absorbed. Before serving add salt and pepper to taste and pour in vinegar. Stir and serve. This makes quite a thick soup.  You can reduce the amount of lentils but keep the same amount of broth if you like more liquid in your soup.  I have found that beef broth gives it a heartier flavor if you prefer. Enjoy!

And by the way, this is wonderful on a cold winter night with hot biscuits or Artisan bread, as well as on Halloween! It’s one of those things that is even better the next day and day after that, if it lasts that long.

The BIG question is…will you try that sandwich of feta cheese, anchovies and kalamata olives… hmmmm???

Trick or Treat!?!

See you next time. Yassou!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Maureen Senecal November 7, 2011 at 7:59 pm

I, too, took a while to appreciate the deliciousness of lentil soup and I’m always looking for a good one (usually at a restaurant :>) We have a Greek American restaurant in Venice, Fl and their Lentil soup is fabulous! But it’s only served on Sundays. I’m not a cook especially since I retired but I think I’ll shock Dick and make this in the coming months. I’ll let you know how it goes.


Sava November 9, 2011 at 12:15 am

Thanks for your comment, Maureen. Are you living in Florida now? Nothing like skipping winter snow storms! I’ll be anxious to hear how you like the lentil soup recipe. Being a lemon fanatic, I must say I like to squeeze fresh lemon juice into my bowl of soup, but then I love lemon on pretty much everything!!
Thanks for stopping by. Yassou!


Leave a Comment