Faki Soupa me Spanaki

Lentil Soup with Spinach

FOR AS long as I can remember, my mother has cooked this lentil soup once a week in the winter. Following a recipe in Theonie Mark’s book Greek Island Cooking, which contains recipes from Rhodes, I’ve added spinach leaves.

Serve with cured fish, such as smoked trout.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups brown lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • cup olive oil
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup grated ripe tomatoes (see Note) or canned diced tomatoes with their juice
  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt
  • 4 cups Vegetable Stock or Chicken Stock
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 bay leaf
  • pounds spinach, stemmed
  • pinch of ground cumin (optional)
  • 2–3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • freshly ground black pepper

Method

Place the lentils in a large saucepan and add cold water to cover. Bring to a boil, remove from the heat and let stand for 15 minutes. Drain.

In a large pot, heat the oil and sauté the onion over medium heat until just soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute more; do not let it color. Add the lentils, tomatoes, wine, Aleppo pepper or pepper flakes and salt to taste. Bring to a boil, add the stock, thyme, mustard and bay leaf and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.

Add the spinach and cumin, if using, and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes more, or until the spinach is wilted. Add the vinegar and black pepper to taste. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Serve hot.

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