As the weather starts to cool down, there’s nothing more comforting than a warm bowl of soup. For Cubans, there’s nothing more cozy than the smell of a Puré de Lentejas lovingly made by our abuela. This is a Spanish soup accompanied by thin slices of toasted Cuban bread brushed with garlic and olive oil. In those days before food processors, she pureed the vegetables in a food mill.
1 pound Conchita Lentils, rinsed in cold water and picked over
2 quarts water
1 ham bone
½ lb diced ham
1 medium-size onion stuck with 3 cloves
1 rib celery, without leaves, chopped
2 medium-size ripe tomatoes, quartered
1 clove garlic
1 large leek, the white bulb and tender part of the green stem, cleaned well and sliced
1 medium-size carrot, scrubbed and diced
1 medium-size all-purpose potato, peeled and diced
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon Conchita Cooking Wine
Salt and freshly ground black
pepper to taste
1 cup chicken stock
First, grab a large stock pot and combine all the ingredients (except for the salt and pepper). Then, simmer everything together over low heat for 45 minutes to an hour, adding a little more water if needed. Make sure to cover the saucepan as the soup cooks.
Once the soup has finished cooking, remove the ham bone, onion, and bay leaf and discard them. Next, transfer the soup to a food processor (in batches if necessary) and blend until it’s smooth and creamy. Return the soup to the saucepan and add the salt and pepper.
Finally, slowly pour in the chicken stock while stirring the soup over low heat. Cook for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, and then adjust the seasoning to your liking. This soup will thicken as it stands, so if you need to reheat it later, just thin it out with a little more stock.
Serve this hearty and flavorful soup to your loved ones and enjoy! It’s sure to be a hit with everyone, just like a good old-fashioned recipe from Abuela Conchita.
MAKES 6 TO 8 SERVINGS