Soups de Lentilles


In 2014, my daughter and I visited Stéphane Gabart of the My French Heaven blog. I’ve sung his praises many times before on this blog as the result of now three visits to him in his French heaven.

His expertise, of course, are food and wine, but because visits are customized to your interests, he also can take you to castles, fortresses, and places like Abbey de la Sauve Majeure.

It was at the Abbey, in their gift shop, that I purchased a beautiful French cookbook, called “The Cuisine of our Grandmothers.”

Stéphane sent me a photo of me holding the bag with my new cookbook and, of course, also fiddling with my camera. And I had to throw a pic in of my gorgeous daughter, walking with me in the French countryside.

The cookbook is beautiful, with creative artwork, interesting stories and anecdotes.

I decided to make a lentil soup recipe from the cookbook because it contains two interesting ingredients – crème fraiche and hazelnut oil. And, the soup is puréed.

Why in the world would I think that a cookbook purchased in France would be in English? Silly American. Thanks, Mom, for the translation help.

Lentil Soup
printable recipe below

300 g of Le Puy lentils, about 10.6 ounces
2 carrots
2 shallots
1 celery stick
2 cloves garlic
Bit of butter, about 1 tablespoon
20 cl creme fraiche, about 6.7 ounces
80 g butter, about 2.8 ounces
8 cl hazelnut oil, about 2.7 fluid ounces
2 ounces diced, smoked bacon

Peel, rinse, and chop the carrots, shallots, celery, and the garlic into small pieces.

Let them cook softly in a little butter in a large pot over low heat.

Add the lentils and add three times the volume of water.

Let the lentils cook for about 20-25 minutes.

Stir, then add the crème fraiche and butter.

Emulsify the soup with a hand blender, and incorporate the hazelnut oil.

Pour the soup into warmed serving bowls, and top with the cooked bacon.

It kind of bothered me to purée the lentils. I love the taste of le Puy lentils, but I love them also because they hold their shape, which is why they are not only good for soups, but even side dishes.

I should have put the lentil soup in a blender, but decided the texture was fine semi-puréed.

The texture obviously had no affect on the flavor, which is what I was most interested in. Unfortunately, the hazelnut flavor was too mild, and I wasn’t willing to add more oil.

But what I did love was the creaminess of the soup. Next time I’ll definitely include a bit more butter and crème fraiche, but not bother with the hazelnut oil, except for maybe a drizzle on top.


68 thoughts on “Soups de Lentilles

    • Delicious. It’s definitely a wonderful combination. Do you like a specific brand of hazelnut oil? Mine barely had any flavor.

    • The good ones I bring from Germany. Right now I am using La Tourangelle , it’s com California and it is ok and you are right it doesn’t have a whole lot of flavor.

      • That’s the brand I have. It’s hardly worth using if there’s little to no flavor!

  1. I had a similar dish once that used hazelnut milk to make it a cream soup. Might have been inspired by. Et les photos sont magnifiques, merci.

    • It’s hard to take a bad photo in a place like that! Good idea, actually, especially if you’re counting calories! (Hazelnut milk over creme fraiche.) But I’ve had hazelnut milk and it’s so mild, as was my hazelnut oil.

  2. Love lentils! Wonderful in soup, or as a side dish. I can read a bit of cookbook French, but I’m lucky in that Mrs K R was a French major, so I have expert help at hand. :-)

  3. Yum! I love lentil soup and it’s good to see a slightly different take on it. Fun to read about your travels and cookbook find as well :-)

    • I know. I really wanted to follow the recipe, but it was actually hard for me to purée the beautiful lentils! But I should have put it all in the blender to really purée them.

    • I treat a lot of beans with mutual respect – black, white – but lentils really are special little things. Especially Le Puy lentils!

  4. I enjoyed reading about your travels, Mimi. How lovely to have shared that experience with your daughter. I do love lentils, and make a nice lentil soup, but this is really a very elevated and special taste experience. I’m excited at the thought of introducing it to my family!

    • Thank you so much! You can visit Stephane, too!!! It’s like immersion instead of being a tourist, plus with great food and wine!

  5. I often make lentil soup but like to wizz it in the liquidiser. The recipe is basically the same without the hazlenut oil. Rather than creme fraiche I usually put a dollop of sour cream when serving, a habit I picked up in Romania where it is common practice with many soups.

    • Interesting. I put sour cream on a lot of soup, but just because I love the flavor and coolness against the hot soup!

  6. Thank you for your lovely comment on my blog. I am often drawn to cookbooks, particularly when I’m abroad, but I have so many already that I always stop myself. Plus they tend to be heavy and I’d rather the weight in my suitcase be shoes 🤪!
    Le puys lentils in a creamed soup? I am intrigued. I’ve always used le puys lentils in salads as they are known for their structure, they don’t fall apart like red lentils (which by the way are luxuriously creamy when puréed too). I have used red lentils as a sauce or soup thickener many times (like last night). I keep a zip lock baggy of puréed lentils (frozen in an ice cube tray) in the freezer, when a sauce or soup needs thickening, I just pop one or two cubes in and allow it to melt. It makes a gorgeous, creamy texture.
    Too bad the hazelnut oil didn’t deliver, it’s fairly expensive here so that would be annoying. I wonder if you could use hazelnut extract for a bigger bang? The crème fraiche sound like an awesome addition. Will try this next time I make lentil soup, which won’t be long as it is a beloved pulse in my kitchen.
    I’ll check out your blogging friend, how wonderful it is to meet bloggers from all over the world! I have met around 9 so far; if we happen to travel to their city, I reach out and mostly we meet up for a coffee or glass of vino. Bloggers are the loveliest.

    • Ha! I would rather carry shoes than books myself! What I really should have done, when my immersion blender didn’t do the job on the lentil soup, was to put it all in a blender and purée it until smooth. But I also was intrigued by the recipe because of the resulting flavor, not texture. I love lentils on salads, also. They’re just wonderful little legumes!

      • What a coincidence, I had a lentil soup scheduled for this past Monday! I used red lentils and puréed the heck out of them for a super silky texture. I’ll bookmark your recipe for when the cooler days set in the fall, we are into heat and humidity from here on in!

  7. Hi, Mimi! First of all thank you so much for your visit on my blog and the kind comment!
    I’m very glad to meet you and to discover your blog and love this soup! I cook lentils quite often, but have never had them creamed (I mean this type of lentils). I also like their texture, so would probably leave them partly creamed, just like you did!
    I always buy cookery books whenever I travel abroad. Even written in languages I understand only a little (though I always tend to know best the food vocabulary in every language, haha!)…. There’s internet for translation and sometimes friends can help…. It’s such a pleasure to have an original and not a translated version, isn’t it?

    • I’d never puréed lentils either, and instead of not trusting the recipe I should have just put them in the blender! Thank you for your sweet comment. I also tend to know some food vocabulary, which helps when ordering, but not when translating recipes!

    • It was very tasty, but I don’t think I’d purée the lentils again. And I might add some chopped hazelnuts on top!

  8. So interesting that you puree the lentils Chef Mimi – looks delicious and I have some macadamia oil that I’m thinking could work in place of the hazelnut oil…..

    • I know. It was almost sacrilegious pureeing them! I just love Le Puys whole. That’s why they’re so wonderful.

  9. Lentil soup is a staple around here. We mix it up and make its in the style of India at times and then with a French twist now and then, but never with creme fraiche. What a great idea. Must give it a whirl.
    That cookbook is a true treasure. I love picking up an old cookbook a purchase somewhere in the world and reading what I wrote in it at the time I bought it. Do you make notes in your books when you get them?

  10. How wonderful to have traveled to France then brought back this wonderful cookbook. It certainly is beautifully illustrated. But like you, I would definitely need to run to the nearest translator. Your soup looks very comforting xx

  11. What a lovely soup and a beautiful cookbook. I always buy cookbooks when I travel and then need to use google translate to understand them!

  12. The joy from memories keep on keeping on (as they say) and having something to bring those memories to life is so special. What a lovely soup to bring this memory and joy to life. ☺️

  13. I’m not so sure you should’ve put the soup in the blender. It looks to me like you have a nice balance between creaminess and chunkiness that I think I would love!

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