Make plenty as, not only will your guests want seconds, but it also freezes beautifully.
Puy lentil soup, tiny meatballs, salsa verde
120ml extra virgin olive oil
1 brown onion, peeled and finely diced
1 large carrot, peeled and finely diced
1 leek, finely diced, white part only
1 celeriac, peeled and finely diced
flat-leaf parsley, stalks finely chopped and leaves chopped and reserved
1 bay leaf
500g puy or black lentils
2-3 litres Chicken stock
salt and pepper
4 pork and fennel sausages or pork sausages
1 bunch curly parsley, leaves picked
1 teaspoon salt
2 anchovy fillets
1 lemon, zested,finely grated
250ml extra-virgin olive oil
1. Heat a broad-based saucepan over medium heat, add the extra-virgin olive oil and all the vegetables, the chopped parsley stalks, thyme and the bay leaf. Sweat these off, stirring often, until fragrant and just starting to colour, 3–4 minutes. Add the lentils and the stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer then cook for about an hour or until the lentils are tender. Season with salt and pepper.
2. To make the meatballs, squeeze dice-sized pieces of meat out of the sausage skins and then shape them to form little meatballs. Heat a frying pan (preferably non-stick) and sauté the meatballs over high heat in a little olive oil, continually shaking the pan, until golden and cooked through.
3. To make the salsa verde, bring a deep saucepan of salted water to the boil and have a bowl of iced water at hand. Blanch the parsley for 4–5 seconds, then refresh in the iced water. Squeeze out the excess water well, then chop roughly (this makes it easier for the processor blades to get going). Put the garlic, salt, anchovies, capers and zest in a food processor and purée to a rough paste. Add the parsley and then, with the machine running, drizzle in the oil. Check the seasoning.
4. To serve
Reheat the soup and check the seasoning. Add the reserved chopped parsley leaves and then divide the soup into warm bowls. Add three or four meatballs per person, drizzle on some salsa verde and serve with crusty bread.
This recipe first appeared in New Classics by Philippa Sibley ($49.95).