...because you thought Sweden was Switzerland!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

food journal number 35: linssoppa

Marcus, who is in the Swedish home guard (hemvärnet) was telling me about the menu in one military exercise they had recently. The home guard have a kitchen staff traveling with them in their exercises, and the food there, as far as the hungry soldiers remember, have all been well-made and really tasty. I must admit, descriptions like "it's better than cafeteria food" might mean anything. However, I got inspired when Marcus mentioned that they ate a delicious lentil soup (linssopa) in their last exercise – He never eats lentils. He wouldn't even touch a bag of those with a 10-foot pole! I guess he was definitely hungry then. Besides, they didn't really have a choice. But neither did he when I brought home a bag of lentils announcing that I would try to recreate the famous lentil soup using the recipe from my new cookbook. I added some touches though (read: meat). The original recipe was vegetarian, but of course the military version I tried to recreate had bacon and sausages. After all, as Napoleon said: "an army marches on it's stomach". We guess he didn't just say that because he was French.

Hmmm, this makes me hungry.
We have another batch in the freezer. I wonder if I'll have it for lunch?

I must admit that Marcus (and even I) was a bit sceptic that this recipe will turn out well. Marcus started complaining that he only mentioned the army lentil soup in passing. For my part, when I read the recipe, it seemed too easy to taste good. Surprisingly though, it really tasted great! We both went for seconds – of lentils, believe it or not! We could definitely have this again in the future.

The bad side? Lentils give a lot of gas. Bad gas. Also, when reheated in the microwave, the soup turns thick and salty. It's repairable with some water, but doesn't become as tasty as it was the first day. Lesson? Serve the new soup with guests, and reheat leftovers on the stove with some water (which, I hypothesize, will make it taste better than if you heat it in the microwave). The good side? Lentils are the best source of protein among plants. To vary protein sources can't be that bad; in fact, I'm already looking for other possible uses for lentils.

Our recipe for lentil soup (linssopa), adapted from Stora Kokboken:

1 liter vegetable broth (or 2 broth cubes + water)
3 dl green lentils
2 onions
2 big carrots (or about 3 medium-sized ones)
1 bay leaf
half a packet of bacon
1 can crushed tomatoes
4 small sausages (we used lunchkorv, but chorizo is probably better)
1/2 t marjoram

Bring the broth to a boil in a large pot. Meanwhile rinse the lentils, chop the onions finely and the carrots into discs. Cut the uncooked bacon in small pieces. When the broth has boiled, add the lentils, onions, carrots, bacon and bay leaf into the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let boil gently for 25 minutes. When only 10 minutes are left, add the sliced sausages. When the time is up, pour in the can of crushed tomatoes (which i believe can be replaced by chopped boiled tomatoes of the same amount, or perhaps even tomato sauce in can where crushed tomatoes are not available), and lastly the marjoram. Bring to a gentle boil again for another 10 minutes, and serve with good bread.

Don't worry folks, my next post won't be about food. Haha. :-)

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