Different countries, different customs: In Italy, on New Year’s Eve, they believe in the power of legumes. Therefore, we present a nice recipe for lentil soup for the turn of the year, which gives strength at midnight, is healthy – and can be changed as desired.
Author: Michael Weier
December 29, 2020 – 5:20 p.m
Stuttgart – Customs at the turn of the year are a strange thing all over the world. Even if we leave out shooting, which is mostly absent this year. But there are also culinary rituals – and this does not mean raclette or fondue, which are as much a part of New Year’s Eve in German living rooms as the tree is of Christmas.
Japanese people can choke on happiness
It is a nice custom in Spain, for example, that people pile on twelve grapes when the bell strikes twelve at midnight – whoever succeeds is lucky. So, every country has its own uniqueness. Brazilians eat bean stew, English people give each other meat pies. The strangest version is in Japan, where you are lucky if you eat a rice cake. This is apparently so stringy and dry that people have reportedly choked on it.
Germans believe in marzipan pig – and like Italians in lentils. If you eat it on New Year’s Eve, prosperity awaits you in the new year. The belief in this apparently stems from the shape of the lenses, which look like miniature coins. As this custom was not known in my family, today I decided on an Italian recipe. If it does not bring wealth, at least it is very healthy. In any case, healthier than rice cake.
Ingredients for four to six people
250 g mountain lentils (alternatively also plate lentils, Alb lentils or Puy lentils)
80 g bacon cubes, 50 g butter
1 small onion, 1 clove of garlic
200 g of carrots, 2 sticks of celery
½ or smaller leek
3 tablespoons of tomato paste
50 ml of balsamic vinegar
1.5 l of chicken broth
1 bay leaf, 1 sprig of rosemary
2 medium potatoes
3 dried tomatoes
½ teaspoon of sugar
Salt and pepper
½ bunch of parsley
Fry the bacon cubes, add butter and finely chopped onion. Then chopped garlic. Finely chop the carrot, celery (you can also use a tuber) and leek to taste and also add them to the pot and let them rise a bit. Wash the lentils, drain and add to the vegetables. Now add tomato paste and sugar and deglaze with vinegar.
Now fill the pot with chicken broth and simmer (pay attention to the instructions on the package!) for about 40 minutes until the lentils are cooked. The same applies here: according to taste, some people like their lentils even more al dente than others.
Halfway through the cooking time, add potatoes cut into cubes about 2 cm thick. Then add finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes. If desired, you can thicken it with a little starch. Season with salt, pepper and sugar. Chop the parsley and pour the soup over it. If you want, you can also add a little sour cream or crème fraîche.
And Swabian children can ask for a sausage! Then maybe leave out the rosemary.
Michael Weier warns against using vinegar. Better to take a little less and season it later. Using sugar also requires a careful approach, so be sparing the first time.
Weier checked the Internet and copied a tip from Léa Linster. A TV chef says her lentil soup needs a strong red wine because of the bacon. My recipe is different, but I agree: with Cuvée Attempt from the Herzog von Württemberg winery (10 euros).