Lentil and potato soup is an Umbrian recipe that has a tradition of approximately a century and a half. That is, since, towards the middle of the 19th century, the potato began to spread significantly in central Italy. Therefore we could define it a very young recipe, considering that lentils are probably the oldest cultivated legume. for about 7000 years.
In Italy the Lentil production is quite limited, but of high quality.. They are generally varieties with small seeds, thin skin and intense and aromatic flavor. As is the case of Castelluccio’s Umbrian Lentils, which are precisely what our lentil and potato soup provides. And they are actually delicious and easier to digest than most imported varieties. Without taking anything away from other Italian lentils, equally small and of excellent quality. Like the Calabrians of Mormanno, the Sicilians of Vitalba, those of Apulia of Altamura, those of Abruzzo of Fucino and some others.
This recipe can obviously be cooked with any type of lentil. Our advice, however, is that you make an effort and buy Castelluccio lentils. Although they are a little more expensive than the others. In fact it looks like a concrete way to help Umbrian farmers. They have made enormous efforts to save both their work and Castelluccio’s lentils from extinction after the earthquake of October 2016. But there is still much to do, given that the damage is still far from being completely covered.
About the actual lentil and potato soup recipe, Cooking involves using a little water, adding little by little.
This is one of the traditional cooking methods, and probably the best to best preserve the healthy and sensory qualities of lentils. Even today in Umbria the old rule that lentils are “broad in the field and dense in the pot” is maintained. And it’s okay that not all popular adages are correct, but there must be a reason if this has persisted for a couple of thousand years! Well well?
The lentil and potato soup that we propose is very simple, even in the additional aromas, which are limited to onion and rosemary.
Obviously a bay leaf, or an Italian-style stir fry would be very good. But resist the idea of adding flavorings…if you use the lardas expected.
In fact, in this recipe (and other similar ones) the full and smooth flavor of the butter is essential to give everything the right harmony. Therefore, from a sensory point of view (here we are not talking about health aspects, which are necessarily individual) a controlled dose of good quality lard is important to enhance the flavor of the soup.
- 250 g lentils
- Approximately 350 g of peeled potatoes
- 200 g peeled tomatoes
- 60 g of butter
- 1 onion
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Rinse the lentils and soak in cold water for the time recommended on the package by the manufacturer.
- Peel the onion and chop it coarsely along with the butter. Then put both in a pan with 2 tablespoons of oil and let them fry for a few minutes, stirring a couple of times.
- When the onion is slightly soft (without letting it dry out too much), drain the lentils and pour them into the pan. Add a pinch of finely chopped rosemary leaves and cook for 3-4 minutes like this, without adding liquid, stirring several times over low heat.
- Pour the peeled tomatoes into the pan and add 2 glasses of boiling salted water to cover the lentils. Bring to a boil and calculate the cooking time of the lentils from now on, when the water starts to boil. Let it simmer (do not boil tumultuously) as long as necessary, stirring occasionally. Always have more boiling water ready to add when necessary.
5. Meanwhile, cut the peeled potatoes into cubes and pour them into the pan when there are 10-12 minutes left to complete the cooking of the lentils. If they have been cut into small cubes, the potatoes will be cooked through (they should never be al dente) in 13-14 minutes. Finally, season with salt, season with a generous amount of ground pepper and serve your lentil and potato soup still hot. The ideal is to accompany it with slices of toasted bread, a little garlic and seasoned with salt and a splash of oil.