French lentil and onion soup

French lentil and onion soup with mint and lemon

It’s muggy and wet in Sydney. After the intense record-breaking heat wave of early February we’ve gone into a record-breaking season of rain… so much rain, everyone’s sick of the rain. Australia’s a drought prone continent and with global warming there have been years where I thought it was never going to rain again, so as a general rule I love lots rain. In a catastrophic natural disaster scenario I prefer floods to extreme heat and bush fires, but this rainy season has really tested my love of rain. Everyday it rains and not just a little bit of rain – huge thunder storms, gutters gushing, ceilings leaking and roof collapsing rain.

We don’t have a clothes dryer in our house so apart from a couple of emergency trips to the laundromat we’ve managed with drying the clothes on the line when we can and finishing drying them inside when the rain hits. Lot’s of people I know have given up and bought clothes dryers, but we’ve held firm and I cheerily sent my son off to school today in a damp sports uniform,with the humidity we seem to be permanently enclosed in a cloud of moisture, so dry clothes end up damp in half an hour anyway.

The rainy days of March signal the start of soup season. We love soup in our house, so despite the ongoing heat we generally get in a few soup dinners on the cooler days. This is a re-post of a soup I posted years ago but I’ve been making it ever since and it’s one of my family’s favorites. It always seems to be our first soup of the season, the lemon and mint give it a refreshing lift and make it a good tran-seasonal soup, a perfect warm up for the cooler weather ahead.

French lentil and onion soup

  • 250 grams french style (Puy) lentils (soaked if possible for about an hour)
  • 4 medium onions, cut in half and sliced finely
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced finely
  • 1.2 litres of vegetable stock
  • 55 grams butter
  • zest and juice of one lemon
  • handful of parsley (chopped)
  • handful mint ( chopped)
  1. Heat butter in a medium size pan and saute sliced onion for about 20 minutes, until golden and sticky. Put in garlic and saute for a few more minutes until garlic is soft and translucent.
  2. If you have managed to soak your lentils, drain and place into pot with stock. Cove and simmer for 30-45 minutes until lentils are tender. If you are using un-soaked lentils it will be closer to the 45 minutes and you may need to use more water or stock if the soup becomes too thick.
  3. Season with salt, pepper, lemon zest and juice. Just before serving stir through parsley and mint.
  4. You can serve this with toasted cheese croutons for a traditional French onion soup accompaniment but I generally serve it with garlic croutons or plain crusty bread.





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