What is cosier than a big bowl of rich, steaming soup while the rain pours down and the wind is howling outside? And when it comes to soups a pot of lentil and eisbein soup takes a lot of beating.
Besides the fact that I am passionately fond of all soups, I love making and serving soup because once you've added all the ingredients to the pot you can virtually leave it alone for hours as it simmers along happily, producing wonderful aromas that waft through the house.
Eisbein has become a tad pricey in South Africa because of its popularity but if you think of it, this soup is really a full-on meal so you are getting four starters and four main courses all for the price of one eisbein.
With this soup I love serving fresh crusty bread or chunks of garlic and herb bread on to which I spoon pieces of tasty smoked pork.
Jut thinking about it makes my taste buds beg for some right now…
To make enough soup for four you need:
1 large eisbein (smoked pork knuckle), the tough outer skin removed
2 potatoes, peeled and chunked
2 potatoes, peeled and grated
1 large onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 onion, grated
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
4 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and sliced into chunks
2 carrots, peeled and grated
1/2 packet yellow split lentils
1/2 packet split peas
1 tablespoon French tarragon
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1,5 litres vegetable stock
Salt and black pepper
1 tin tomato paste
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Heat the olive oil in a large solid bottom saucepan and fry the onion over high heat for three minutes.
Add the garlic and celery and stir fry for one minute.
Now add all the ingredients except the meat and brig to a slow boil.
Make a few deep incisions into the meat of the knuckle and add the meat to the pot.
Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and let it idle along for about an hour, checking and stirring every 20 minutes.
After an hour or so, or when the meat is starting to become tender, slice the meat off in chunks and leave the meat and bone in the soup.
Continue cooking for a further 30-45 minutes.
Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
Serve in heated soup bowls with a small glass of brandy or dry sherry besides each bowl of soup.