Throughout the 1800s Dutch lentil soup was made with onions or leeks and cabbage or celery and various amounts of brown or red lentils, cooled, pushed through a sieve, re-heated and seasoned with herbs and spices which included celery seeds, cinnamon, cloves and cumin seeds. The onions or leeks would have been fried in lard.
Gradually the recipe evolved to include cayenne, chilli or paprika and garlic for a piquant taste and, to the amazement of the purists, pieces of meat and sausages.
This is the traditional version, spiced with a strong onion flavour.
- 1 litre water (more if necessary)
- 1 kg onions, sliced thin
- 500 g leeks, sliced thin
- 250 g red lentils, washed, soaked overnight
- 250 g white cabbage, blanched in 1 litre of hot water, shredded (retain water)
- 45 ml rapeseed oil
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tsp celery seeds
- 1 tsp cayenne / chilli powder
- 1 tsp g cumin seeds
- 1 sprig lovage
Cook the lentils in one litre of water until they are soft, add the cabbage.
Fry the leeks in 2 tablespoons of oil over a high heat for 5 minutes, cover, reduce heat and cook for 15 minutes. Add one tablespoon of oil to the leek mixture, increase heat, add onions and spices, fry for 5 minutes with constant stirring. Stir in the garlic, cover, reduce heat and cook for 45 minutes.
Pour the cabbage-lentil mixture into the onion-leek mixture. Stir in the cabbage water and the lovage. Ladle in batches into a blender, blend into a purée, adding more water for a thinner soup.