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Good Luck Lentil Soup

  • 1/6
    Good Luck Lentil Soup
  • 2/6
    Carrots and parsnips, flour, butter, green lentils, allspice, black peppercorns and bay leaf
  • 3/6
    Place the lentils in a medium stockpot and rinse under cold running water. Drain. Add the peppercorns, allspice and 4 cups of water, and cover with a lid.
  • 4/6
    Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a medium skillet over medium heat, and sauté the carrots and parsnips until crisp around the edges, about 5 to 6 minutes.
  • 5/6
    Make the roux. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle with the flour and stir constantly until light brown, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  • 6/6
    Pour in ½ cup water and whisk until combined.

Text, photos and food cooked by Michal Martinek

Dec 30, 2015

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Good Luck Lentil Soup

This is my mom’s version of a classic Czech recipe. She makes it traditionally for lunch on New Year’s Day—followed by pork roast, potato dumplings and stewed white cabbage, washed down with Czech beer—because it’s supposed to bring good luck and money in the upcoming year.

Even if you’re not into folksy customs, this is a great hearty soup to have in your repertoire. The ingredients are basic and good, but the secret is in the roux, which makes the soup thick and creamy, and very satisfying. If you want to speed things up, soak the lentils in water overnight—it will cut the cooking time in half. 

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  1. Serves 4–6
  2. ½ cup green lentils
  3. 1 bay leaf
  4. 5 whole peppercorns
  5. 3 whole allspice berries
  6. 4½ cups water, divided
  7. 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  8. ½ cup carrots, peeled, julienned (about 1 small carrot)
  9. ½ cup parsnips, peeled, julienned (about 1 small parsnip)
  10. 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  11. 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped (optional)
  12. Salt
  13. Black pepper, freshly ground

1

Place the lentils in a medium stockpot and rinse under cold running water. Drain. Add the peppercorns, allspice and 4 cups of water, and cover with a lid. Bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer until the lentils are soft, about 35–40 minutes.

2

Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a medium skillet over medium heat, and sauté the carrots and parsnips until crisp around the edges, about 5–6 minutes. Transfer to a small plate.

3

Make the roux. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle with the flour and stir constantly until light brown, about 1–2 minutes. Pour in ½ cup water and whisk until combined. Set aside.

4

Add the vegetables to the lentils and stir in the roux. Simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the parsley, if using. Add the salt and black pepper to taste.

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