Lentil Soup


Lentil Soup (Lečina Juha)
Rye Bread

It was the second Tuesday in December.  I was in the mood for soup.

Should I continue with my string of makeovers?  The soups I had prepared earlier in the year didn’t seem to need much tweaking.  So I decided to try something new.  But what? I had covered most of the traditional Slovenian favorites.

Finally, I had it.  Lentil soup.

The Progressive Slovene Women had a recipe for lentil soup.  A little checking online reassured me that this was indeed a traditional Slovenian dish called lečina juha. The soup looked easy, even when I incorporated a few additions from an Internet source.

Simple and straightforward seemed like an especially good idea, right about now. I had barely started my holiday baking, so that would have to be the focus of my cooking energy for the next few weeks.

I even took a few shortcuts with the soup recipe: canned beans and no pre-soaking with the lentils.

For the result, read on.


Lentil Soup (Lečina Juha)

1 cup lentils, rinsed and drained
1/2 large onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 rib of celery with leaves, sliced
1 bay leaf
4 T. parsley, chopped
1 carrot, sliced
12 oz. can of navy beans, drained
2 chicken-apple sausages, sliced (6 oz)
salt and pepper to taste
6-8 cups water
more parsley for garnish.

Brown onion and garlic in olive oil and set aside.  Bring water to boil in large soup pot or Dutch oven. Add lentils, browned onion and garlic, and remaining ingredients.  Simmer 1-2 hours, adding more water if soup becomes too thick.  Taste and adjust seasonings. Before serving, add a sprinkle of parsley on top.


The verdict: Just as I had hoped, the lentil soup was hearty and delicious.  And very thick.  The sweet, mild flavor of the chicken-apple sausage, though not the traditional choice, worked well.  Obviously, any number of meat choices (sausage, bacon, ham) could be used instead.

We enjoyed the soup with a couple of traditional accompaniments, coleslaw and rye bread.  And a not-so-traditional dessert:  caraway-buckwheat shortbread, a holiday baking experiment I had taken to a dinner party over the weekend. Nothing like a little Scottish-Slovenian fusion!

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