French Lentil Soup - The Daring Gourmet

This French Lentil Soup recipe is positively packed with flavor and will comfort both body and soul.  It’s a perfect make-ahead dish because the flavor is even better the next day, make a double batch while you’re at it for leftovers!

french lentil soup recipe traditional authentic best leek celeriac bacon puy lentils

Soups like this one are very nostalgic to me.  One bite with its familiar and comforting flavors transports me back home to Europe.  I’m biased but I stand by the conviction that some of the best soups and stews come from Germany (where I’m from) and France (where I’ve spent a lot of time).  And not surprisingly many of their soups share quite a bit in common with each other.

This French Lentil Soup recipe could just as accurately be labeled as German Lentil Soup as the ingredients and flavors are very typical of what you’d find in many regions of Germany as well.  But since we’re using French lentils we’re going to go ahead and attribute this one to France.  So here’s to my French friends and French food fans.  Bon Appétit!

french lentil soup recipe traditional authentic best leek celeriac bacon puy lentils

Today’s soup takes us to the Le Puy region of France.

Le Puy is famous for its cathedral, lace-making and…its lentils.  It’s home to the Le Puy lentil, commonly referred to as the French lentil.

le puy france

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What Are Le Puy Lentils?

What distinguishes these lentils is their color, flavor and shape-holding characteristics.   Le Puy lentils are small with a slate-green color and blue marbling.  They have a slight peppery flavor and are preferred among many cooks because, unlike their brown lentil cousins that turn mushy after a while, they hold their shape during cooking.

french lentil soup recipe traditional authentic puy

What is Celeriac?

Celeriac, also known as celery root, is a root vegetable in the Apiaceae family, which also includes celery, parsley, and carrots. It’s a large, knobby light brownish colored root ball with a cluster of hairy roots.  In other words, it’s not the most aesthetically beautiful vegetable in the produce aisle.  But don’t let its humble appearance fool you: celeriac is a powerhouse of flavor and plays an integral role in many traditional European soups, including French cuisine.  If you’re wondering if you can substitute or omit the celeriac, don’t.  As with the leek called for in this recipe, if you want that traditional “Old World” flavor, celeriac is also a must.  Most well-stocked produce sections sell it though you may need to search for it.

french lentil soup recipe traditional authentic best leek celeriac bacon puy lentils

Can I Freeze French Lentil Soup?

This French Lentil Soup makes terrific leftovers as the flavors are even  better the next day.  It also freeze well and can be reheated in the microwave or on the stovetop.

You’re going to love this deliciously rich and satisfying French Lentil Soup!

french lentil soup recipe traditional authentic best leek celeriac bacon puy lentils

French Lentil Soup Recipe

Let’s get started!

In a stock pot cook the bacon over medium-high heat until done.

Add the onions and cook until soft and translucent and golden, 7-10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

cooking bacon onions and garlic

Add the celeriac, leek and carrots and cook for another 4-5 minutes or until beginning to soften.

Add the lentils and cook for another minute or two.

adding veggies and lentils

Add all remaining ingredients except for the parsley and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Stir in the parsley and add salt and pepper to taste.

adding broth and herbs

Serve with some crusty bread and/or a leafy green salad.  This soup makes excellent leftovers and the flavors will be even more pronounced the next day.

Enjoy!

french lentil soup recipe traditional authentic best leek celeriac bacon puy lentils

For more delicious French recipes be sure to try our:

Originally published March 16, 2016

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