I woke up craving a bowl of lentil soup.
”White lentils! How unusual!” I thought after grabbing a bag from the shelf, so that I could look more closely. The label on the package read Ivory white lentils, and that name piqued my curiosity right away. With their pale fair color, the lentils looked delicate. Will they cook like green lentils? I wondered. Or like red? I didn’t think twice. I knew that I had to try them and dropped one bag into my cart. And as I walked through the aisles of the store to finish my grocery shopping, I started to brainstorm ideas on how I would use the légumes. Perhaps a salad, or add them to a vegetable stew.
Until I thought about a hearty soup.
For the entire week that followed, however, the bag sat at the corner of the counter top. Untouched. I’d catch a glimpse of it every morning when I walked into the kitchen. It seemed that it was looking back at me, saying “c’mon, do something with me!” So I thought about my soup idea again. The hearty soup I had imagined at the store with slices of spicy Spanish chorizo and winter vegetables. The soup I eventually imagined to serve topped with a poached egg, a generous dollop of crème fraiche and a dash of paprika, so that the dish would become substantial and more nourishing.
Soups like this one are dishes I enjoy preparing during the winter a lot. Perhaps once a week. They are everything-in-a-pot kind of dishes that are really easy and quick to prepare, something that I must say, I find quite convenient while I am trying to work and look after Lulu at the same time. Once started, I can leave the soup to simmer on its own, almost unattended, and come back to it half an hour later to find a pot of delicious nutritious food.
If you decide to make the soup, you’ll find that white lentils cook quickly — just as red lentils do. They do not require any soaking, which is rather practical too, should you decide to prepare the soup spontaneously. Once the lentils are cooked, they develop a mild flavor and soft texture that blend perfectly into a thick broth when combined with small pieces of butternut squash, carrots and tomatoes. The overall flavor is spiced up with Spanish chorizo and the soup becomes truly irresistible with a generous dollop of crème fraiche dusted with paprika, and a poached egg. Who, really, could resist the thought of a soup finished with a poached egg in it? In our household, we surely can’t.
The first time I made the soup, Lulu and I ate it with pieces of whole grain bread for lunch. At first, I was unsure whether she was going to like it but was still decided to give it a try. When I saw that after the first spoonful, she was asking for more, I felt my heart leap with excitement.
“C’est bon, non?” (It’s good, isn’t it?) I told her while putting the food inside her mouth. She was banging two teaspoons on the table with her mouth wide open. Asking for more.
We left the table filled with great energy from our food, which Lulu was quite pleased to use later on the swing. And I just went along.
For the soup:
- 2 cups dry white lentils
- 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
- 4 tomatoes, blanched, skinned and seeded, diced
- 1 cup peeled and diced butternut squash
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 celery branches, diced finely
- 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 1 red onion, chopped finely
- 1 leek, white part only, chopped finely
- 4 twigs of thyme, chopped finely
- 3 branches of parsley + more to serve
- Sea salt and Sechuan pepper
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 4 cups cold water
- 2 tablespoons double concentrate tomato paste
- 24 slices of chorizo
For the eggs:
- 6 extra fresh eggs
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- Pinch of sea salt
- Crème fraiche
- Dash of ground paprika
- In a large pot, heat two tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. When warm, add the red onion, leek, celery, chorizo and thyme and sweat for 4 minutes, stirring and without browning.
- Add the garlic and continue to cook for 1 minute.
- Add the tomato paste and tomatoes and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes
- Add the lentils, carrot, butternut squash, parsley twigs, bay leaves, water and stock. Bring to a simmer and season with salt and Sechuan pepper. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft. Keep warm.
- In another pot, heat a large volume of water. Add a generous pinch of salt and the vinegar. Bring to a bare simmer.
- Break one egg inside a small cup and slowly transfer the egg into the simmering water. Repeat with the other eggs and cook for 1 minute only, or until the egg white sets and the yolk is still runny.
- Remove the eggs carefully with a slotted spoon and transfer them to a paper towel to absorb the excess water.
- Divide the soup between bowls and add one tablespoon crème fraiche. Add the poached egg, a dash of paprika and freshly chopped parsly. Serve without waiting.
I love Lulu’s seal of approval (and her tights, too). That’s all the endorsement I need! I must seek out some white lentils.
the lentils look a lot like urid dhal, but i might be mistaken
You prepare exactly the kind of food I love to eat. Ah, many meals that felt incomplete get a perfectly poached egg on top!
Ah! I wish I could have some of that soup now!!! Amazing how Lulu likes her food 🙂 She is going grow up a foodie!! Lucky her!
This sounds delicious. I’ll try to find white lentils next time I go to the supermarket. Question: did you serve Lulu some of the poached egg and the chorizo or just the lentils/veggies and broth?
OK now this looks good!! (especially since I’m sitting in a freezing cold room freezing my patootie off….)
looks real good….mmmmm
This is everything I feel like eating. I’ll have to take a look for white lentils, never seen them before. Beautiful shots, love the linens you used under the bowl!
I’ve never seen white lentils, but I have also never met a lentil I didn’t like. That last photo is priceless.
All your food presentations are always exquisite..but it’s the little one that usually grabs my attention even more..She accessorizes adorably..
Would you like to swing on a star? Carry Moonbeams home in a jar?:) Swinging in the snow~ So cute!
Ooooo I recognize those measuring cups! I do adore those little teacups. I’m starting my own little collection of Anthropologie kitchen gear…
Never heard about white lentils before. I must have a look next time I go to the supermarket. The last picture is my favourite! 🙂 Lulu’s such a cutie.
That looks and sounds delicious – never heard of white lentils either! I’m intrigued! Need to go find some and make this recipe. I heart chorizo in soup!
This looks fab! I don’t usually eat lentins but I’m going to try this! I think the chorizo and poached egg swung my decision.
Wow! What a fancy looking soup!! I love all that ingredients that you are using.
I love lentil soup with some kind of meat – it’s almost a vice in winter. I think I’ve seen white lentils but so seldom I don’t think it’s occurred to me to buy a pack. The poached egg is beautiful and clearly a winner. I’m thinking of waiting until K is one before she eats whatever we eat, is that what you’ve done with Lulu?
I couldn’t resist a bowl of this if it was put in front of me. It almost looks too good to eat.
Always a pleasure and an inspiration Ms. Peltre!
Bea u have a fantastic site with amazing photo graphy and wonderful recipes and am making sure i miss none of ur deliciousness. Lulu is so so adorably cute!!!
bejinhos e boa semana.
we are devoted lentil soup fans over at my house. i could say it’s a staple but i have never cooked with the ivory ones. will have to look next time. i’m with tara, lulu’s tights are just the best!
Be still my beating heart! That looks like heaven in a bowl…
Never seen white lentils, only the orange ones –
they look so cute! I have a bag of “rice beans” that I found at a gourmet store a couple of months ago – I might try to make this soup using them. They are white-ish beans, grains shaped exactly like rice. I have no idea where they came from, they were sold in bulk.
The color of that soup is absolutely stunning! You’ve put three of my favorite ingredients in it: chorizo, butternut squash, and szechuan pepper–what a perfect combo!
this looks like the perfect breakfast, lunch and dinner on a cold morning! I love lentils and this dish looks quite easy and so delicious! I can’t wait to make it!
I have never dared to try all-in-the-pot soup so far, but your flavour mix and amazing picture are so tempting… And it’s good to know I could use red lentils if I don’t find the white kind. Thanks a lot ! I love your blog !
Delicious. It’s going to be simmering in my pot on the stove today. Thank you!
J’adore aussi les lentilles et celle-ci me tente beaucoup!
Toujours aussi mignonne la petite!
delicious looking and anything with chorizo and eggs can’t be bad!
And your photos are amazing!
What a delicious hearty and heartwarming soup. I love all lentils but have not yet made any dishes with the white. Thank you, your recipes are always inspiring!
What a good idea! I’ve never heard about this white lentils… only orange or green… The mix with chorizo looks great 🙂
Have a nice day 🙂
Pour une fois que c’est le deluge a Los Angeles, je file droit cez Whole Food pour reunir les ingredients. Soupe aux lentilles a la maison ce soir. On va voir si Roman qui a le meme age que Lulu va apprecier.
i’ve been so obsessed with Lentilles du Puy that i never even thought about white lentils! plus, how can i resist anything with 24 slices of chorizo?!
I made it this evening (only I couldn’t find white lentils at Monoprix, so used coral) and it was fantastic! I followed your recipe, only I didn’t have Sechuan pepper (so used regular fresh-ground pepper)…and I did throw in a few more chorizo slices. Oh, and I used potiron instead of butternut squash. But it was a really nice combination of tastes and the perfect dish to serve on a rainy Paris evening. I can’t wait to serve this wonderful soup/stew to my French boyfriend tomorrow. Thank you!!! (And I’ll be on the lookout for white lentils, now.)
Yummie, this soup looks delicious…white lentils 🙂 Love the idea of the egg on top!
ô que je comprends ce genre d’envie 😀 d’ailleurs j’ai eu le même genre d’urgence cette semaine : soupe de lentilles avec un œuf poché !! c’est pas le bonheur ? (en tout cas ça y ressemble ^^)
Thank you everyone for the feedback!! Merci beaucoup. I love that you, too, have a weakness for this type of soup. Really comforting, right?
Tara, yes I wish I had the same tights!
Marie-Anne, oh je suis curieuse de savoir si ton petit bout de chou va aimer !
Robynn, I’m *so* glad you already made it (you’re a speedy!) and liked it!
Fred, ah mais que oui!
Hilda, Lulu had some of th egg but not the chorizo. Despite her ten teeth! I started giving her our goods when she was 11 months or so. Gradually…over the last two weeks, she’s definitely shown a much stronger interest for foods with more texture. Which is really lovely!
Absolutely beautiful. I love the addition of the poached egg.
Wonderful soup! I love lentils although have never had white ones…must keep and eye out for that. Finishing the soup off with a poached egg is a delicious idea!
I love Lulu’s tights and boots…so cute!
Les photos sont vraiment superbes ! délicieuses !
Exactement ce dont j’aurais besoin, la, tout de suite. Merci Bea!
Oh my! I have never had a poached egg in lentil soup and it sounds amazing! I can just imagine what happens when that yolk oozes out. Yum! Thanks!
Regina here, for ExpatWomen.com.
I would like to personally invite you to list your blog on our Expat Women Blog Directory (www.expatwomen.com/expatblog/) so that other women can read about and learn from your expat experiences.
Many thanks in advance for your contribution and keep up your great blog!
Great idea and great soup! I am not sure I will find these white lentils but i will make it with the orange ones I have, since I have the chorizo waiting to be consumed!
Quelle belle assiette!
je suis en plein dans une période lentilles, je trouve que c’est vraiment agréable de manger ça quand il fait froid dehors…
Your white lentils look like husked black gram dhal, used to make Southern Indian bread (dosay) and added in tiny amounts as a seasoning for food. Are yours indeed ulundoo/urad dhal?
I got all the ingredients yesterday (except white lentils, I will use French lentils). Dinner tonight will be Lentils soup. Can’t wait!
Merci pour la recette.
gosh how i love this blog
The Paris Food Blague
Lately I’ve been putting eggs atop pretty much anything and everything (great on hearty soups!). I can’t say that I’ve ever seen white lentils…going to keep my eyes peeled. Thanks so much!
C’est ce que mon mari adore..les lentilles…J’adore les petits pieds de Lulu..Bon dimanche Béatrice avec ta petite famille !
That soup looks delicious! Cant wait to try it!
I made this tonight – outstanding. I omitted the creme fraiche and added about a teaspoon of paprika directly to the soup. So good.
What a great soup and lovely photos… chili and lentils are great together!
I would agree that these white lentils are usually sold as ‘urad dal’ for use in Indian cuisine. These lentils, interestingly, are black before they are dehusked. Anyway, you should be able to find them anywhere Indian specialty foods are sold. (My local Indian market had them, so I will be trying this soup tonight!)
Yum! This sounds delicious. I have been eating more and more lentils lately. They are power food!
I love lentils. I must admit I’ve never had the blond ones. I have to try them next time. The colors and ingredients of this soup look amazing.
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Rien que le titre m’a donné envie alors quand j’ai vu la photo… Lulu voudrait pas partager sa soupe avec moi ?
A perfect dish for winter. The photos are lovely and Lulus little legs are adorable.
Toujours de superbes photos avec de jolies anecdotes… vous m’avez donné envie de lancer mon propre blog… et même si je n’arriverai jamais à votre niveau, merci !
Hmmm…never thought of adding a poached egg in the soup. Looks delicious! I can’t wait to try.
Poached eggs are regular fare during the week for my family, but I have never considered putting it on top of a bowl of soup. Beautiful!
Always a fan of this blog. Tried making this soup this evening. It was every bit delicious as it looked. Your creativity with food is stunning.
However, I could not find “White Lentils” but I believe Manias is correct in thinking these are Split Urad (Urid) Dal, which can be found at Pakistani, Indian, or Halal grocer. But it is kind of hard to tell from the pictures.
that’s just beautiful, it’s art, you know, looks goood
I’ve been trying to master cooking with green lentils. I’ve tried different ways, both with and without success. I love lentils and this recipe sounds really good, especially with the brilliant idea of eggs. I’m inspired! Thanks.
Thank you very much for the recipe. I made this soup for dinner yesterday. It is absolutely, hands-down, my favourite lentil (almost stew) soup. Its presence is quite substantial, it stood on its own as the main and the only dinner course. Perfect on all accounts.
I love the addition of eggs to further enrich the soup. I imagine smoked paprika would also compliment the chorizo nicely.
I love lentils. Just tried the recipe. Added a pinch of piment d’espelette. Trop bon! Thank you!
So glad to receive the feedback, and for those of you who tried the soup, you enjoyed it! Many thanks!
This looks delicious like everything else you do… I have a question though: are you taking your beautiful photographs using natural light or do you use lighting, such as a softbox to mimic light coming through a window…? I am struggling to take anything that looks better than something you’d see in a kebab shop so I’d really appreciate your help.
Melanie, I use natural light actually…..good luck with your work!
Béa, have you tried making the soup ahead and reheating/adding the crème fraiche and egg? Does it reheat well? or are the white lentils too delicate?
You can certainly reheat the soup with the crème fraiche, on low heat. But I wouldn’t with the egg, which is best prepared right before you eat. Hope this helps.
Looks like a terrific dish, oh and lovely photography! Love the textures and colors. So appetizing!
Oh my gosh, this looks so good. I love lentil soup, add an egg and some chorizo and I’m in heaven. I am so glad I came across your flickr stream and your blog!! Your photos are gorgeous too!
wow… that almost looks like a stew – it’s super-thick. really nice dish.
Perfect dish for the cold nights we have been having around here. Can’t wait to try it out!
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Hello! I’ve been following your awesome site since way before Lulu and I’ve only salivated over the yummy photos you take- not once have I actually tried any of your recipes. Today will be the first time, and I’ve decided to do this white lentil soup. I hope I do justice to your recipe and that my friends would love it! Cheers.
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What a wonderful dish! Your picture was so beautiful, I had to try it. I made this for my family last night and it tasted even better than it looked! Thank you for the addition to my recipe box.
Monique, I am *so* happy you enjoyed the soup. Thank you so much for the feedback!
Came home with white lentils today and was wondering what I was going to do with them. Will blog about the results.
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This soup sounds really nice. Something that would be perfect on a crispy winter’s day. I have to admit that I never really got to like lentils so mostly I have been avoiding them… But since a couple of blog posts with such delicious looking lentil dishes I’m actually eager to give it a second chance.
Besides, am I the only one who doesn’t see this post on the front page of the blog? I only got to know about it via twitter… Still have the chocolate granola post as newest one.
Oops! It’s the year 2011 already, right? Never mind the little confusion 🙂
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I made this tonight for dinner (it’s currently winter here in Australia) and it was soooo yummy. The whole house smells divinely aromatic, and even better than a hearty soup with lentils and chorizo is a hearty soup with a poached egg on top! I love the egg on top so much that I’m now wondering what other soups I could add an egg to!! I only had green lentils in the pantry, but for the rest I followed the recipe exactly. So simple yet so fantastic!
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Bonjour, toujours le regret de ne pas connaître l’anglais (ou très peu). Pourquoi pas une traduction systématique de toutes vos recettes que j’adore ? Merci d’avance d’y songer… Et sinon, bravo pour les recettes, pour vos photos, … tout est magnifique.
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The best lentil soup I’ve ever had. Makes a perfect winter lunch/dinner.
Your presentation is extraordinaire as always …Simplicité fait beauté
Indeed this is a very rich yet rustic dish in a sense…Thank you
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