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I recently made lentil soup from a recipe that involved bringing the lentils to a boil and refreshing them before a more prolonged cooking together with the aromatics.

The soup turned out great, but I wonder why the refreshing step might have been necessary. Does anyone know?

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I'm not familiar with 'refresh' used this way. Are you rinsing them? Changing the water? –  Joe Feb 1 '11 at 21:19
    
The recipe says "refresh under cold running water" after boiling and draining the lentils. –  Chris Steinbach Feb 1 '11 at 21:31
    
I didn't find that step in any Italian recipes for lentil soup. I cannot say it's really necessary, or it's something necessary depending on the type of lentil. –  kiamlaluno Feb 2 '11 at 2:31
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I always thought that lentils were the only legumes which did not need refreshing. And I have tried refreshing, and they came out tasteless. Maybe the recipe wanted the taste from some other very prominent ingredients that you added later. –  Vass Feb 16 '12 at 12:13
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1 Answer

It's been years since I've cooked lentils, and I haven't done it very often, but I'm going to guess that the issue is that like other legumes and grains, you can end up with a gummy exterior, so by rinsing it in cold water, you both stop the cooking process and rinse off any starch that might've been over gelatinized.

If you hadn't done it, the most likely difference would've been a a thicker soup, and possibly overcooked mushy lentils. (I don't know how lentils behave when colled; some starches will behave differently if you cool then reheat it vs. if you keep it warm the whole time it can get mushy)

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