Sunday, January 9, 2011

Curried Lentil Soup

Auntie Ems makes an amazing curried lentil soup, but this is not it. In the most recent Bon Appetit I saw a recipe for a curried lentil soup and this also is not it. The great thing about soup (lentil or otherwise, but this theory works best with the chunkier varieties) is that you can add almost anything (within reason) to the recipe and it will only make it better.  This type of soup is a great way to incorporate a lot of your winter vegetables like kale, chard, collards, fennel, potatoes, celery, and even celery root.  So, keeping that in mind here is my recipe for curried lentil soup:

olive oil
1 yellow onion chopped
2 carrots chopped
1-2 ribs of celery or 1 small celery root
optional: fennel
Salt and pepper
Spices: Curry, turmeric, cardomom, connamon, paprika, cayenne... etc.
12 oz canned tomatoes in juice (not in tomato puree)
1 QT chicken or vegetable stock
Up to 2 cups lentils (green, red, yellow brown- whatever you have)
1 bunch kale

Heat a good splash of olive oil in a large pot. Add 1 chopped yellow onion, 2 chopped carrots, 1 large or 2 smaller ribs of celery (or 1 small celery rootpeeled and chopped), you could also add 1 fennel bulb outer layers removed and chopped as well.  Add about 1 tsp of salt and some ground pepper- I go light on the salt initially because even if I make the chicken or vegetable broth myself I never know how salty things are going to turn out.  Sautee in the pot, stirring, on medium heat until soft, roughly 5 to 10 minutes.  Then add your favorite curry spices; mine are cinnamon (1tsp), Curry (2 Tbsp or a little less), Cardamom (1tsp), Turmeric (1Tbsp), Paprika (1Tbsp), Cayenne pepper (1- 2 tsp), a dash of allspice, and a little ground coriander.  I like my lentils spiced and spicy, so I probably added a little more of all of these things.  Stir.

Then, add about 12 oz of canned tomatoes (chop them up a little) and their juice to the vegetables, stir to incorporate.  Add a quart of vegetable or chicken stock to the pot and cook until simmering. Add up to two cups of rinsed lentils (I had red lentils sitting in my cupboard, but any color will do) to the pot, stir and heat until simmering.  Reduce temperature and let simmer uncovered for up to 30 minutes or until lentils are mostly soft.

At this point I added a whole bunch of Red Kale (but chard, dinosaur kale, or collard greens will work as well) stems removed, and cut cross-wise into 1 inch strips.  Stir and cook another 5 minutes or until kale has wilted. At this point you can also add things like steamed or boiled potatoes, chopped mushrooms, sausage, roasted squash, etc. Salt to taste.

I will warn you that this recipe makes a TON of lentils, probably enough for 8 large portions of soup. If you want to decrease the number of servings, I would keep the vegetable ratio the same and just add fewer lentils and less stock, but that's just because I love vegetables so much.

This is how mine turned out:

Happy eating!


1 comment:

  1. This sounds so good! I just got some Himalayan pink salt, HimalaSalt, from Sustainable Sourcing and I think I'll try it out in this recipe. Thanks for sharing!