French green Puy lentils retain their shape when cooked and have a lovely earthy flavour. They combine beautifully with porcini mushrooms and Marsala to make a rustic, winter soup.
20 grams dried porcini mushrooms, roughly chopped
2 cups boiling water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 stick celery, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
250 grams button mushrooms, thickly sliced
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1/3 cup Marsala or red wine
¾ cup Puy lentils, rinsed and drained
1 x 400 gram tin crushed tomatoes
2 cups chicken or beef stock
large handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
large sprigs flat-leaf parsley
200 grams chorizo
Combine the porcini mushrooms and the boiling water and leave for 15 minutes.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the onion, celery, carrot, garlic and the button mushrooms with a good pinch of salt. Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes until tender, stirring occasionally.
Increase the heat and add the paprika and Marsala. Let it bubble up for 2 minutes then add the lentils, tomatoes, stock and the porcini mushrooms with the soaking water. Season and bring to the boil. Simmer for 25 minutes until the lentils are cooked. Stir in the parsley.
Heat the oil in a sauté pan and when hot, fry the parsley for a few seconds until crisp. Take care as it will spit. Drain on kitchen towels. Slice the chorizo into long shards and cook until lightly golden. Roughly chop half of the chorizo and stir into the soup.
To serve: Divide the soup between bowls and top with a spoonful of sour cream, the remaining chorizo, a few sprigs of parsley and a grind of pepper.
Pantry note: Marsala is a fortified wine from Sicily. Dry Marsala can be drunk as an aperitif or added to savoury dishes. Available from good food stores and wine shops.