Different countries, different customs: In Italy, people believe in the power of legumes on New Year’s Eve. That’s why we offer a great year-round lentil soup recipe that gives you midnight power, and is healthy — and customizable.
Written by Michael Weir
December 29, 2020-5:20 pm
Stuttgart – Early year customs are a strange thing all over the world. Even if we overlooked the shooting, which is largely absent this year. But there is also a culinary ritual – and that does not mean raclette or fondue, which are as part of New Year’s Eve in German living rooms as the tree at Christmas.
Japanese can stifle happiness
It is a nice custom in Spain, for example, for people to stuff themselves with twelve grapes when the twelfth bell rings in the middle of the night – whoever runs it is lucky. So each country has its own specialty. Brazilians eat bean soup, and the English give pasties to each other. The strangest version is in Japan, where you are lucky if you eat a rice cake. This seems so hard and dry that people have suffocated.
The Germans believe in marzipan pig – and like the Italians in lentils. If you eat it on New Year’s Eve, prosperity awaits you in the new year. The belief in this seems to stem from the shape of the lenses, which look like miniature coins. Since this custom was not well known in my family, today I decided on an Italian recipe. If it does not bring wealth, then at least it is very healthy. Much healthier than rice cake anyway.
Ingredients for four to six people
250g mountain lentils (you can also use lentils, white lentils or Puy lentils)
80g bacon cubes, 50g butter
1 small onion, 1 garlic clove
200g carrots, 2 celery sticks
½ or small leek
3 tablespoons tomato paste
50 ml balsamic vinegar
1.5 liters chicken broth
1 bay leaf, 1 sprig of rosemary
2 medium potatoes
3 dried tomatoes
Half a teaspoon of sugar
½ bunch parsley
Fry bacon cubes, add butter and chopped onions. Then chopped garlic. We cut the carrots, celery (you can also chop the tuber) and leeks into small pieces to taste and also add to the pot and let them rise a little. Wash the lentils and filter and add to the vegetables. Now add the tomato paste, sugar and slather it with vinegar.
Now fill the pot with chicken broth and simmer (pay attention to package directions!) for about 40 minutes until the lentils are tender. The same applies here: depending on taste, some people like lentils more than others.
Halfway through the cooking time, add the potatoes, cut into cubes 2 cm thick. Then add the finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes. If you like, you can make it a little thicker with starch. Season with salt, pepper and sugar. Chop the parsley and pour over the soup. If you like, you can also add a little sour cream or fresh cream.
And the Swabian kids may order string sausage! Then maybe leave the rosemary.
Michael Weir cautions against using vinegar. It is better to take a little and mark it later. The use of sugar also requires a careful approach, so be economical the first time.
Weier checked the internet and copied a tip from Léa Linster. The TV chef says lentil soup needs a strong red wine because of the bacon. My recipe is different, but I agree: with Cuvée Attempto from Herzog von Württemberg Winery (10 euros).