Lentil Soup with Chorizo, Poached Eggs, and Paprika Cream

The beautiful photographs and recipes of Béatrice Peltre have always captivated me, and this gorgeous and delicious soup is the best soup David and I have had in a while. I looked everywhere for white lentils to no avail, but I think red lentils worked well. Red or yellow lentils are better for soup than Puy or beluga lentils in my opinion.  They break down a little more and give the soup a nice, wholesome consistency (and they produce a more pleasing color for soup as well). I haven’t made poached eggs in a long time, and upon eating this soup I was wondering why. Poached eggs are fun to eat and now I have been plopping them on breakfast, soups, stews, and stir fry. My love for them has been rekindled! Between poached eggs and medium-boiled eggs, my usual fried eggs have come in 3rd lately.

from: La Tartine Gourmande
serves: 6

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 thyme sprigs
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 large shallot, chopped
1 leek, white part only, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
24 (or desired amount) slices of spicy chorizo
2 large tomatoes, blanched, peeled, cored, seeded & diced (or use canned san marzano tomatoes)
1 tablespoon double-concentrated tomato paste
2 cups white or red lentils, rinsed & sorted
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
1 cup peeled and diced or spiralized butternut or kabocha squash
4 cups chicken stock or vegetable broth
4 cups cold water
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
2 bay leaves
3 cilantro stems with leaves, plus more leaves to serve
sea salt & pepper

for the egg:

pinch of sea salt
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
6 large eggs

crème fraiche, to serve
ground paprika to serve

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the thyme, cumin, turmeric, shallot, leek, and celery and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, without browning, until fragrant and the vegetables start to soften. Add the slices of chorizo and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the tomatoes and tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Add the lentils, carrots, and squash and cook for 1 minute, then add the stock, water, saffron, bay leaves, and cilantro stems, and season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer the soup for 25 minutes, or until all the vegetables and the lentils are fork-tender. Discard the thyme and bay leaves and keep warm on the stove while you prepare the eggs.

To prepare the egg: Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add a generous pinch of sea salt and the vinegar. Bring to a simmer. Break 1 egg into a small cup and carefully transfer the egg into the simmering water. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, util the egg white is set but the yolk is still runny. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel. Repeat with the other eggs. You can do a few eggs at a time as long as you can keep them separated in the pot.

To serve, ladle the soup into deep bowls, sprinkle with the cilantro leaves, and add a heaping tablespoon of crème fraiche to each if desired (I skipped it). Top each bowl with a poached egg and a dash of paprika.

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