This soup is an amalgamation of my favorite lentil soups I’ve had over the years. My friend Hitoko was the first person I knew to combine lentils and cumin—and serve it for breakfast. I had a delicious lentil soup, topped with pine nuts, with dear friends Nikki and Karl at a small restaurant in Red Hook a couple of years ago. The garlic-lemon-parsley sauce is my own, but I’m sure it came from someone else along the way. I like to do the partial blending too, but it’s not a must. I hope you’ll take this amalgam of lentil soups from friends and make it your own.
8oz[225 g] brown lentils (other colors will work, but the texture will be different)
8cups[2 L] chicken stock or water
½bunch parsley, roughly chopped
1lemon (about 1 1/2 oz [45 ml]), zest and juice
½cup[125 ml] olive oil plus more as needed
4oz[120 g] pine nuts or sunflower seeds toasted
In a large pot, heat a glug of olive or neutral oil over medium heat. Add the cumin seed and briefly fry, about 30 seconds. Add the onions and 1 Tbsp of salt and stir to coat. Lower the heat and sweat the onions until soft, about 7 minutes.
Add the white wine and cook until reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Add the lentils and briefly toast, about 3 minutes.
Add the stock and increase the heat to bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook until the lentils are very tender, about 40 minutes.
Mince and smash the garlic with a pinch of salt to make a rough paste. In a medium bowl, combine the garlic, parsley, lemon zest and juice, olive oil, pine nuts, and big pinch of salt to make a very lemony, oily sauce. Reserve.
When the lentils are cooked through, blend briefly with an immersion/stick blender to make it a loosely chunky, slightly thickened soup. Adjust the seasoning as desired.
To serve, portion into serving bowls and top with a heavy slick of the sauce.