Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Red Lentil and Burghul Soup

I wasn't too sure what I thought of the notion of this soup. But I'd ripped it out of the newpaper (back in February!) and it was time to try it.

I like burghul (also called bulgur), but hadn't had it in soup form before. Of course it's most famous use is as a base for the middle eastern classic Tabbouli. I do like red lentils in soup- indeed some of my favourite soups contain red lentils now that I think about it.

Red lentils are an amazing nutritious, low GI food. GI 26.

Burghul/bulgur is simply whole wheat that has been hulled, steamed then cracked (which gives the other name of cracked wheat), and so it retains the wheat germ and bran. The GI for boiled burghul hasn't been measured, but when it is soaked as you would do for tabbouli it is 48.

Red Lentil and Burghul Soup

1-2 tblsp olive oil
1 large brown onion, finely chopped
2 sticks celery, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
1.25 L chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 cup red lentils
1/3 cup burghul
2 tblsp tomato paste
2 tblsp chopped fresh mint and basil

Heat oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat and saute onion, celery and garlic for 7 minutes, or until softened. Add chilli and cook for 1 minute. Add stock, lentils, burghul and tomato paste, stir and bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, or until grains are tender. Add a little extra stock if needed. Season to taste. Add mint and basil just before serving. Serve with a dollop of thick yoghurt.

Serves 4
David Herbert
Weekend Australian, February 26 2011

I omitted the chilli as I was making the 10 year old eat it for dinner.

It's a very quick and easy soup to throw together for a simple meal.

I wasn't sure I liked the appearance of the soup as it was- so I blitzed it in the Thermomix to make a smooth soup. The burghul then gave it a bit of a furry mouth feel. I don't know that I'd make this again, but it was interesting to try- and the 10 year old ate it with no fuss!

I will cross post this on my low GI blog.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Potage St Germain (well nearly)

It's always great when a recipe combines several of your great loves, and this soup does that. Soup. Low GI goodness. France. And a friend's blog. Too good to pass up.

Split peas are a nutritional storehouse, with a fabulous low GI of 32. 

I've never really been a fan of the traditional pea and ham soup, I find it too furry on the tongue, and the colour is usually unappealing. Here, we don't have the ham, and the soup is glammed  up by addition of fresh peas at the end to give it a great colour boost. So when my friend Hannah blogged this simple French potage, I knew I would have to give it a try quite soon. So I did. And it was fab. 

Although it turns out this isn't really a traditional Potage St Germain, which is more a fresh pea soup made with stock, lettuce, onion and celery. I felt certain that Elizabeth David had a recipe for Potage St Germain in her book French Provinical Cooking, but I suddenly can't find it. The name of course brings to mind St Germain de Pres, a lovely but dilapidated church on the left bank of Paris. 

2 cups green split peas (400g)
1 litre water
1 tblsp olive oil
1 large brown onion (200gm), coarsely chopped
2 trimmed sticks celery (150gm), coarsely chopped
1.25 litres chicken or vegetable stock 
500gm frozen peas
Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper

Soak split peas in the water in a large bowl for 3 hours or overnight.

Heat oil in large saucepan; cook onion and garlic, stirring, until onion is soft. Stir in celery, cook, stirring for 2 minutes.

Add undrained peas and stock, bring to a boil; simmer, uncovered, about 1 hour or until peas are tender (skimming the surface and stirring occasionally). Stir in frozen peas; cook, for about 10 minutes until peas are tender.

Blitz soup in high speed blender, until smooth.

Return soup to pan. Heat through. Season to taste, and garnish, with mint or garnish of your choice.

Pretend you're in Paris whilst you eat. 


My 10 year old ate this without complaint- just the usual bribe of bread and butter. 

I garnished with creme fraiche and chives, as that's what I had on hand. 

I only noticed the soup was meant to be simmered uncovered when I typed the recipe here. I did it covered.

I'm cross posting this on my low GI blog.

This post is linked to Weekend Cooking, a fabulous weekly meme at Beth Fish Reads.