Lentil soup, Mauritian style

I made this soup on another rainy, Vancouver weekend. I recently got back from an almost month-long vacation in Mauritius, and took a week to recover from jet lag and a cold, so not a lot of cooking happened during that time! Now that I’m back to feeling normal, I thought I’d make something comforting and nutritious for the week to come.

This lentil soup is perfect for the weather, and has a nostalgic feel as a dish I grew up eating. Every household in Mauritius regularly has this as part of dinner, and this is the specific way my family makes it – on the thicker, stewy side, and with chunks of pork. For a lighter version, just dilute it with more stock, and omit the meat. Use brown lentils if you can find them, but I often use green or red if I can’t find the brown lentils. Just don’t use split peas, or you’ll end up with an entirely different kind of soup! Also, this recipe makes a gigantic pot, so halve it if you’re not looking for leftovers, or want it to actually fit in a slow cooker. You can easily freeze this soup in individual portions for easy-to-grab lunches.

Ingredients

  • 1lb dried lentils
  • 1 rack of pork ribs
  • 2 large onions
  • 5 carrots
  • 5-8 stalks of celery
  • 3lbs of chopped roma tomatoes, or canned tomatoes
  • 4 cups of vegetable stock
  • Bunch of fresh thyme
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Chop the rack of ribs into manageable chunks of 3-4 ribs. Brown the ribs in a little bit of olive oil. Remove.
  2. Cook the chopped onions. Let this cook while you chop the other ingredients.
  3. Add the carrots, celery, and tomatoes as you finish chopping them. Cook till all veggies have softened.
  4. Add the browned ribs again, as well as the dried lentils, thyme, and stock. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 2hrs, or until the meat is easily falling off the bone.
  5. Carefully remove the cooked ribs from the pot, allow to cool, and shred the meat into large chunks, discarding bone, cartilage, and anything else you wouldn’t want in your soup. If you’re like me, you’ll get impatient, and do this when the meat is still too hot, slightly burning your finger tips! Add the meat back into the pot and stir.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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