greek lentil soup with no-knead crusty artisan bread

Greek Lentil Soup (fakes)

This soup got me a husband! 

Okay, so there may have been more to it than that… but The Greek swears that he knew he was going to marry me when I made him this Greek lentil soup (fakes, pronouced “fah-KEH” or “fah-KEY”).  He was driving 8 hours back from his sister’s house after the holidays, and I wanted to make something special to help him relax after such an exhausting trip.  I left a warm pot of this on the stove to greet him (we didn’t live together before the vows).

He said that the smell that greeted him reminded him of his childhood and felt like home.  Aww… warm fuzzies.

I don’t pretend to be Greek, but this recipe is… and my husband swears it tastes just like his (late) mother’s.  High praise indeed. This is simple fare, but what is unique about fakes is that you add a big spoonful of red wine vinegar to each bowl right before serving.  That’s optional, but it really adds an interesting layer to the flavors.

This soup is light, but filling, and practically begs for a nice, warm crusty bread to go alongside (or maybe that’s my husband I’m hearing… the man loves bread!).  I have found this knead-free crusty bread to be the perfect accompaniment.  I accidentally made it the first time using an entire packet of yeast, and we loved it, so that’s what I go with now.

We had an awesome Italian bakery back in our hometown (run by Greeks, as it turns out), and the smell of this bread is the closest I’ve ever come to competing with the real deal.  The texture is much denser than our favorite hometown bread, but it complements the fakes perfectly!  Whatever you do, do NOT buy that abomination of an Italian bread that they sell at Walmart.  I’m begging you.

Don’t forget to remove the bay leaves before serving… and to add the vinegar!  This is a very frugal and healthy meal and perfectly comfort foody for the Fall/Winter.  It warms the soul.

Tip:

Hate it when a recipe calls for only 1 or 2 tablespoons of tomato paste, and you’re left with a half-used can that gets moldy in the fridge when it gets pushed behind the milk and you lose track of it for a month?  Me too.  After you’ve used what you need from a freshly opened can, put the paste onto a small ceramic plate (or piece of waxed paper) by the tablespoon-ful, freeze it and then put the frozen blobs into a freezer bag for later use.  They’re pre-measured, so there’s no doubt about how much you’re using!

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