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Dec 5, 2004 09:57 AM

Suggestions for French lentils

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I have a pound or so of French lentils and I'd like to make soup---can I substitute them for green lentils? Or do any of you have a good recipe for soup made with French lentils.

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  1. Yes you can substitute them. Sara Moulton had a good looking recipe for French lentil soup on her show this week. Go to and you can get it.

    1. All the lentil soup recipes in Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking are excellent, especially the one with bacon and garlic. French lentils work fine, and I have also used brown lentils and American green lentils interchangeably, with success.

      1. Lentils de Puy can be substituted for just about any recipe that calls for the larger brown lentils, and in my experience the final product is much improved. You'll likely need to increase the cooking time by 25% or so.

        1. Cooks Illustrated had a great recipe last winter. Ingredients as printed, directions paraphrased below. This is seriously yummy.

          Cooks Illustrated Lentil Soup
          makes about 2 quarts, serving 4 to 6

          3 slices bacon, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
          1 large onion, chopped fine
          2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped medium
          3 medium cloves garlic, minced
          1 can diced tomatoes (14 1/2 ounces), drained
          1 bay leaf
          1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
          1 cup lentils, preferably French de Puy, rinsed and picked over
          1 teaspoon salt
          freshly ground pepper
          1/2 cup dry white wine
          4 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
          1 1/2 cups water
          1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
          3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

          Fry bacon till fat is rendered.

          Add onion and carrots and cook till they soften, about 2 minutes.

          Add garlic till fragrant, add tomatoes and herbs and stir till fragrant.

          Add lentils, salt and pepper, stir well, cover, reduce heat and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

          Uncover, increase heat, add wine and bring to boil. Add broth and water and bring back to boil. Cover partially, reduce heat to low and simmer till lentils are tender, about 30 to 35 minutes. Remove bay leaf.

          Puree 6 or 8 cups of soup till smooth and return to pot. Add vinegar and heat gently.