Prunes are added to Christmas soups in Slovakia. They have a festive sweetness that melds well with the lentils and cream.
As I mentioned in my post about how Slovaks celebrate Christmas, each area of Slovakia makes a different type of soup for Christmas. Some make a sauerkraut based soup, others split pea, and still others cream of lentil. What all the soups have in common is the festive addition of prunes.
When I first heard about prunes in soup, I was sceptical. Prunes? In Soup? Weird, I thought. But I’m game to try anything at least once, and so my first Christmas in Slovakia found me discovering a whole new way of eating a childhood food.
My mother in law makes this for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve only, never at any other time of the year. If you aren’t Slovak (and even if you are), however, there is no reason not to try this delicious soup any time of year. Cream of Lentil Soup with Prunes is another one of those Slovak comfort foods, particularly suited for cold weather and curling up next to a fire.
I haven’t tried making a dairy free version, with coconut cream instead of heavy cream, but I think it would work well.
- 200 g/ 1 cup green lentils
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cloves garlic
- 250 ml/ 1 cup heavy cream
- 150 g/ less than 1 cup prunes
- 2 tbsp arrowroot powder (or cornstarch or other thickener)
- salt, pepper
- The night before, soak lentils and prunes separately in water for 7 or more hrs. This step is not strictly necessary, but renders the lentils more digestible, cook faster, as well as helping lentils keep their shape when cooking and not turning to mush.
- Cover lentils with water an inch/2 cm higher than the lentils, add bay leaves and chopped garlic, a bit of salt and pepper, and simmer until lentils are soft, about 10-15 minutes.
- If prunes are homemade, you can add them to the lentils cooking. If the prunes are bought, and therefore much softer, you can add them 5 min before serving.
- When you are almost ready to serve the soup, add cream and a couple splashes of milk. In a half full glass of cold milk or water, stir the arrowroot or other thickener. When mixed, pour into the soup while stirring. Allow the soup to almost simmer, keeping an eye that it doesn't burn.
- Serve and enjoy!