Different countries, different customs: In Italy they believe in the power of vegetables in the New Year. So here’s a good recipe for slow-moving soup for the New Year, which gives you strength at midnight, is healthy – and is modified to your liking.
By Michael Weier
December 29, 2020 – 5:20 p.m.
Stuttgart – New Year’s Eve customs are a strange thing all over the world. Even if we omit the shooting, which is largely absent this year. But there are also culinary rites – and that doesn’t mean a raclette or fondue, which are as much a part of New Year’s Eve in German salons as the Christmas tree.
Japanese can suffocate for happiness
A nice custom in Spain, for example, is to fill yourself with twelve grapes when the bell rings at midnight – whoever succeeds is lucky. So each country has its specialty. Brazilians eat bean stew, the English give each other meat pies. The strangest version is in Japan, where you are lucky if you eat rice cake. This is apparently so hard and dry that people are said to have suffocated.
Germans believe in marzipan pork – and like Italians in lentils. If you eat it on New Year’s Eve, prosperity awaits you in the new year. The belief in this apparently stems from the shape of the lenses, which look like miniature coins. Since the custom was not known in my family, today I decided on an Italian recipe. If it doesn’t bring wealth, at least it’s very healthy. Healthier than rice cake anyway.
The ingredients for four to six people
250 g mountain lenses (alternatively also telephoto lenses, Alb lenses or Puy lenses)
80 g bacon cubes, 50 g butter
1 small onion, 1 garlic clove
200 g carrots, 2 sticks of celery
½ or small leek
3 tablespoons tomato paste
50 ml balsamic vinegar
1.5 l chicken broth
1 laurel, 1 sprig of rosemary
2 medium potatoes
3 dried tomatoes
½ spoonful of sugar
½ bunch parsley
Fry the bacon cubes, add the butter and the finely chopped onion. Then the chopped garlic. Cut the carrots, celery (you can also cut the tuber) and leek into small pieces, to taste, and also add to the pot and let them rise a little. Wash the lentils, drain and add to the vegetables. Now add the tomato paste and the sugar and mix with the vinegar.
Now fill the pot with chicken broth and cook (pay attention to the packaging instructions!) For about 40 minutes until the lentils are cooked through. The same goes here: In terms of taste, some people like lentils even more than others.
Halfway through the cooking time, add the potatoes cut into cubes about 2 cm thick. Then add the finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes. If you like, you can thicken it with a little starch. Season with salt, pepper and sugar. Chop the parsley and pour over the soup. If you like, you can also add a cup of sour cream or whipped cream.
And Swabian kids might ask for a sausage rope! Then maybe leave the rosemary.
The cooking tip
Michael Weier warns against using vinegar. Better to take a little less and season later. The use of sugar also requires careful access, so be economical the first time.
The top of the wine
Weier checked the internet and copied advice from Léa Linster. The TV chef says her lentil soup needs a strong red wine because of the bacon. My recipe is different, but I agree: with the Cuvée Attempto from the Herzog von Württemberg winery (10 euros).