Monthly Archives

April 2012

recipes, Soups and Stews

Red Lentil Soup

Red lentils, how I love thee!
If you’re like me and frequently forget to soak beans overnight, red lentils are awesome because they’re one of the few legumes that cook up quickly.  As in, 20-30 minutes, no soaking required.  
So red lentils have saved me on many occasions when I want something protein-y in my meal, but have no tofu (or patience).  They’re great tossed in soups, stews and tomato-based pasta sauces, and I’ve even gone so far as to make thick spreads out of them (think along the lines of hummus, but not chickpeas).  
Today, I made soup.  My requirements for soup are typically that they’re easy, fast, and use as few ingredients as possible – I don’t want to be slavin’ over no soup!  This one succeeds on all fronts, and manages to be completely yumtacular – very hearty and warming, perfect for this lovely weather we sometimes have.
(Saskatchewan is climatically bi-polar.  Case in point: today’s high is 15 C in all of its sunny glory, while tomorrow’s high is 0 C with snow.)

Red Lentil Soup
Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 large carrots, sliced into thin semi-circles
1 teaspoon peeled and diced ginger
2 medium potatoes, chopped small
1 teaspoon garam masala (berbere is also amazing in this!)
1 cup red lentils, rinsed
4 cups vegetable broth
Squeeze of fresh lime juice (about 1 teaspoon)
Salt, to taste (depends on how salty your broth is)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro, for serving
Hot sauce, for serving

Directions:

1. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat and add the onion, garlic, carrots, ginger and potatoes, chopping as you go.  Stir in the teaspoon of garam masala and cook for 30 seconds or so, and then add the red lentils and vegetable broth.  Crank up the heat and bring the soup to a boil, and then reduce heat to a simmer for 20 minutes or so, until the lentils and potatoes are tender.

2.  Transfer about half of the soup mixture to a blender and puree, being sure to leave an opening for steam to escape.  Return the pureed mixture back to the soup pot and stir.  Let it cool down a little, and then add the lime.  Do the ol’ taste test to see if it needs more salt.  Serve in a bowl topped with chopped cilantro and some hot sauce – I always tend to go for Sriracha because it’s just so damn good.  And depending on your heat tolerance, you can make it as spicy or mild as you like!  But do add a little hot sauce, okay?  Please?

I’m very fond of the half-pureed, half-chunky soup texture – it really is the best of both worlds.  I tend not to love completely smooth soups unless there’s fun toppings like diced veggies, but then it’s no longer a completely smooth soup so perhaps that doesn’t count.  Brothy soups are all well and good too, but sometimes they just don’t feel hearty enough.  The half-puree saves the day!  Yeah, I totally had to go for that rhyme.
Wishing you all a stellar weekend!