Thursday, January 04, 2018

Red Lentil Soup

Will a lentil soup change your life?   I think this one will...

I knew it was a winner when I made it late on a Sunday after a pre-Christmas dinner at my sister in law's house where we all ate way too much pizza and fudge and peanut butter kiss cookies and we needed a little something later in the evening.   I whipped up a batch and my "meat and potatoes" twenty something son proclaimed it "really good" and ate the rest of it.   It takes 30 minutes to make!  Next test was the vegetarian friend Patty who said that not only was it the best lentil soup she ever tasted, it was in the top 5 soups she ever had.   Those are some pretty wonderful compliments, especially coming from a soup that doesn't take all that long to make. 

I started with a recipe from America's Test Kitchen, which looked good, but had some pain in the a$$ things about it, like spiced butter.   I didn't have time for that.    Why not just put those spices in the soup?  Here is how I've made it.....3x now and I can see I will keep on making it for a long while.   For the vegetarians, just substitute the chicken broth for vegetable.    So good!

Red Lentil Soup with Cilantro

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion, chopped fine
Salt and pepper
¾ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch cayenne
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 garlic clove, minced
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
10 ½ ounces (1 ½ cups) red lentils, picked over and rinsed
2 tablespoons lemon juice, plus extra for seasoning
1 teaspoon paprika
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and 1 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add coriander, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, cayenne, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in broth, water, and lentils and bring to simmer. Simmer vigorously, stirring occasionally, until lentils are soft and about half are broken down, about 15 minutes.

Whisk soup vigorously until it is coarsely pureed, about 30 seconds. Stir in lemon juice and season with salt and extra lemon juice to taste.

Ladle soup into individual bowls, sprinkle with  paprika and cilantro, and serve.

UPDATE:  My recipe was recently featured in the Michigan Electric Coop Magazine Country Lines.   Here is the video