Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Sort of Greek Lentil Soup

Being married to a Greek bloke has one or two consequences.

My children have a rather long surname.

They've each been through ritualistic torture, or a torturous ritual, however you want to look at it.

I have a Greek mother-in-law.

And people always ask me about the food I eat in her kitchen.

Truth is, my mother-in-law cooks a handful of things very well, but she tends to stick to what she knows. Her spanakopita and tiropita are exceptional, especially dipped in her tzatziki. Her roast lamb with lemony potatoes are a favourite of mine. And I always go in for a second helping of her chicken souvlaki.

I haven't tried her lentil soup, but I have heard a funny story about lentils which I thought was hers. Turns out it might have come second-hand via her sister. 

Lentils are called 'fakes' in Greek. It's pronounced fah-kes. Go on, say it out loud. Lots of emphasis on the 'fah'. As the story goes, the GM's aunt went into a shop in Sydney and, not knowing the English word, asked for a packet of 'fah-kes'. You know how this ends. She had to repeat herself several times. The shopkeeper thought it was hilarious. She couldn't understand why. Etc.

Anyway, all that to say, this is my lentil soup. I'm not sure how my mother-in-law cooks hers, I'm not even sure how Greek this version is. But it is easy. And satisfying. And far, far yummier than I ever thought lentil soup could be.

Cook a cup of brown lentils in water for about 20 minutes or until tender. I like using the small dark Frenchy ones. You could probably use stock in place of the water, but why bother if you don't have to? Meanwhile, saute off a finely diced onion, carrot, stick of celery and clove of garlic in some olive oil. Add the drained lentils and enough water to cover it all, plus a little bit more. You can throw a couple of bay leaves in too, and some pepper.

Simmer for about 40 minutes, skimming off the brown scum that rises to the surface, until the soup is nicely flavoured. You'll need to add a good quantity of salt to lift it. Turn off the heat and add the juice of a couple of lemons and a big handful of baby spinach. Test it again - it might need more lemon and salt. Don't be shy.

Serve with a dollop of Greek yoghurt and some toast on the side.

And that's my fakes for you.


  1. What a great story...thanks for making me smile tonight!! I was thinking of making some lentil soup on the weekend for next week's i know i will!
    My partner is an Indian but he doesn't really like Indian food after being force fed by a grandmother when young i disppointingly we don't have much Indian food anymore!!!

  2. Oh that sounds lovely. I might give that a try over the weekend. x

  3. Haha! Thanks for the morning giggles. The soup looks yummy.

  4. My kind of recipe. Oh, I'm so jealous of your Greek family!!!

  5. Too funny, Greer! We love lentils and Greek food. Do you think your m-i-l could visit with us for awhile?

  6. Hello, I'm a new visitor to you blog. Loving the recipes you've shared, this one in particular. My mum is Greek, and I do love Greek biscuits. Nat x


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