Thursday, May 17, 2007

Easy lentil soup

I was talking to my pal Amy last night about how awesome vegetable and bean soups are in terms of health, tastiness, and convenience, and I drunkenly attempted to write down for her my lentil soup recipe. Upon reflection, this cold and sober morning, I realized that the sheet of paper I handed her was most likely crumpled and covered with illegible scratchings, so I emailed her the actual recipe.

In the spirit of reusing content, then, I bring you:

The Lentil Soup Recipe I Emailed to Amy.

~1 lb green/brown lentils, dried
1 yellow onion
~4 carrots
~4 stalks celery
1 biggish yukon gold potato
1 14-oz can chopped or crushed tomatoes with no spices
4+ cups broth or water

Chop onion medium-fine and sauté in a generous glug (or two or three) of nice olive oil. Once onions are a little soft, add chopped celery and chopped carrot and cubed, peeled potato. Cook for a little while, stirring occasionally, over a medium heat. When things are starting to look a little glisteny and soft around the edges, turn the heat way up and add the tomatoes. Let them heat up, then add rinsed lentils (you should sort through lentils before you wash them to make sure there are no stones). Stir that around a bit until things get good and hot, then add at least four cups of broth or water. (You’ll probably have to add more as the soup cooks but it’s a good place to start.) Keep heat up high until it starts boiling then turn down and let it cook for an hour or so, stirring every 10 minutes and adding fluid as needed.

1/2 bunch fresh dill, chopped pretty fine.
Ground cumin
Chili paste or chili powder or both
Japanese plum vinegar or balsamic vinegar
Juice of 1/2-1 lemon

Once the soup is thickening up nice and the lentils have gotten squashy and aren’t “al dente” anymore, it’s time to add flavors. Last time I made this I added about 1 1/2 tsp cumin, a couple glugs of plum vinegar, the juice of half a lemon, and a few squirts of chili paste (I like Sri Racha 'cause it's nice and garlicky too). The lemon and vinegar are pretty important because otherwise the soup is going to be bland. You don’t need to add a lot but a little is vital.

Nota Bene: this is an easy recipe to double, and I often do. I like to freeze half for laters.


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