UMBRIAN LENTIL SOUP
This super-simple, healthy and hearty lentil soup takes its inspiration from a traditional Umbrian dish; you can add a swirl of cream to serve if you wish for a richer finish. This is fabulous for a winter lunch or brunch when the weather outside is a little miserable.
Place a medium-sized sauté pan over a medium-low heat and add olive oil. When oil is warmed, add onion, carrot and celery, cook gently for 15 mins, stirring often, until the vegetables are very soft. Add lentils and stir to combine, pour in wine and allow it to evaporate. Add bay leaves, thyme sprigs and half of the warm stock to cover lentils and simmer for about 15 mins, stirring occasionally.
When lentils have absorbed all the stock, add half of the remaining stock and the tomato paste and stir to dissolve. Taste lentils to see how tender they are; at this point, they should need about another 10 mins or more. Keep adding more stock as needed – this will also depend on how liquid you want your soup – stir and taste more frequently now, season to taste.
Once lentils have become tender but still hold their shape, remove from heat and allow to rest, covered for 10 mins.
Serve in bowls with a drizzle of olive oil or cream and lots of toasted sourdough.
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 onion, peeled, finely diced
2 small carrots, peeled, finely diced
1 celery stick, finely diced
400g Lentilles Vertes du Puy lentils
100ml dry white wine
2 Farro bay leaves, fresh 6 Farro thyme sprigs
75ml Simon Gault’s vegetable stock concentrate, mixed with 1 1⁄2 litres warm water
1 tablespoon Mutti tomato paste concentrate