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To Soak or Not To Soak Lentils

Friday, February 8, 2013
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Regardless if you soak, always rinse beans to minimize gas. Photo by Stephanie Singer

Whether the weather in your neck of the woods is calling for snow this weekend, the fact is that it's COLD out there! To stay warm, I love to spend my winter days inside in the kitchen over a hot stove.

I also like to try to figure out how things are made.  

Lately, I've been searching the Internet in hopes of finding the answer to a question that I've been deliberating for quite some time:

Do lentils need to soak overnight?

A definitive answer has proved to be surprisingly elusive — some say yes, while others say no.

Feeling adventurous, I decided to partially soak my lentils before using them for a soup. It tasted great, although I'm still not sure exactly how long the lentils really needed to soak. To minimize the notorious gas affect associated with eating beans, I do advise thoroughly rinsing any beans that you soak and transfering them to new water when you are ready to cook. 

Here's a recipe I created with my fiancé:

Lentil Soup with Lamb Sausage

1 to 2 lamb sausages, chopped into bite-sized pieces (I used Merguez)
1 yellow onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 and 1/2 cups lentils, soaked for 5 hours
1 cup beef stock (or 2 cups broth)
2 cups water


1) Heat a stock pot on medium high heat. Cook chopped sausages for about 7 minutes. Remove from pan and reserve.

2) Add onion, carrot and celery to pot, along with salt and pepper. Cook for about 8 minutes or until onions get translucent. Rfemove from pot and reserve.

3) Rinse and strain the lentils before adding them to the pot. Sauté for about 10 minutes.

4) Transfer lentils to the pot, add stock and water and bring to a boil. 

5) Add vegetables to pot, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 45 minutes.

6) Use an immersion blender on low for a couple of seconds to blend, just long enough to puree some of the soup to add thickness. Taste and adjust for seasoning. 

7) Add lamb and cook for a few minutes, just long enough to heat through. Serve immediately. 

Soup's on,

The Bubbi Project

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