Lentil Soup with Smoked Turkey

I am an inveterate recipe clipper. One of the drawers in our home is filled to overflowing with recipes culled from the New York Times, the Plain Dealer, the Richmond Times-Dispatch, and all the usual suspects among the food magazines. Why do I do this? It's not for lack of cookbooks in my collection. Stumped for a way to prepare fish, I'll troll various sites on the Internet. I could begin, today and each day thereafter, to cook my way through every clipped recipe I own and find myself cooking until 2040—if standing on my feet in front of a hot stove doesn't kill me first.

The thing is, I'm a sucker for well-written food articles. They satisfy my hunger for evocative language and delicious meals in one convenient, non-reheatable packet.

This recipe, included in an article by China Millman of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and recently reprinted in our local paper, the Richmond Times-Dispatch, caught my eye for two reasons. First, the headline was a real grabber: "Humble staples make one exquisite soup." Second, I have a shelf of repurposed White Cat Popcorn jars filled with dried beans, split peas, and lentils. Why not, I asked myself, cook something that I don't have to fill a cart from Whole Foods to prepare? The only item I didn't have on hand was the smoked turkey, which I found, you guessed it, at Whole Foods.

A great big thank you goes out to cookbook author Eugenia Bone, who created this delicious and satisfying soup recipe in the first place; it was originally published in the December 2009 issue of Food & Wine magazine. I reached Ms. Bone via email through her website. If you go there, you'll find it has a most scientific name—Mycophilia.com, because it is devoted to her love of mushrooms and her new book, Mycophilia: Revelations from the Weird World of Mushrooms. I love mushrooms, and so of course I'm going to have to look into this. Eugenia Bone also writes a blog, Well-Preserved, for the Denver Post.

Lentil Soup with Smoked Turkey *
—Serves 4 to 6

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 16-ounce can whole tomatoes, chopped and juices reserved
1 bay leaf
1 cup green or brown lentils **
3/4 pound smoked turkey wing and thigh
4 small red potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for serving ***

In a large pot, heat the oil. Add the garlic, celery, carrots, and onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally until softened, 7 minutes. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, lentils, smoked turkey, and 2 quarts of water and bring to a boil. Cover partially and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender, 1 hour. Add potatoes and simmer until tender, 10 minutes.

Remove the turkey meat from the bones and return it to the soup; discard the skin, bones, and bay leaf. Add the parsley and season the soup with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve, passing the cheese at the table.

Make ahead: The lentil soup can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

* I doubled the recipe for this session, which is why there's an extra onion and 2 extra celery ribs in the mise en place photo, along with a 28-ounch package of tomatoes.

**I used all the green lentils that I had on hand, and supplemented with brown in order to get to 2 cups—remember, I was doubling this recipe. I added only 3 and 1/2 quarts of water, though, which made for a nice, thick soup.

***The article noted that adding a Parmigiano-Reggiano rind to the pot would add richness. I did this and it did. Rinds of this cheese keep well in the freezer.

Recipe used with permission of Eugenia Bone.

Marci Rich
Richmond, Virginia
The Midlife Second Wife

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