Doesn't lentil soup just feel healthy? Well, that's what I like to think, anyway. Last week, amidst my bean escapade, I made a vat of the stuff. It lasted for three days and became a short-lived joke ("What are you having for lunch?" "Lentil soup." "What are we having for dinner?" "Lentil soup." And so on and so forth.)
I meant to use Alton Brown's recipe, which has rave reviews online, but as I was adding the lentils I very ungracefully dumped two times the amount the recipe called for of those little suckers into the pot. Unfortunately, I didn't have all the other ingredients to simply double the recipe, and improvised. It's hard to mess up soup, and it's hard to mess up something so simple as lentil soup.
The soup was delish. My version, of course, had to oodles more cumin and a whole bunch of chopped cilantro - there is just no other way in my book and the soup took on an Indian undertone. In fact, we had it with roti. (For a girl with Crohn's, I have a very questionable affinity for all things Indian food.)
Below is Alton's recipe in its pure form. My notes follow in italics.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup finely chopped onion
- 1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
- 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 pound lentils, picked and rinsed
- 1 cup peeled and chopped tomatoes
- 2 quarts chicken or veggie broth
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground toasted cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground grains of paradise
Place the olive oil into a large 6-quart Dutch oven and set over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion, carrot, celery and salt and sweat until the onions are translucent, approximately 6 to 7 minutes. Add the lentils, tomatoes, broth, coriander, cumin and grains of paradise and stir to combine. Increase the heat to high and bring just to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook at a low simmer until the lentils are tender, approximately 35 to 40 minutes. Using a stick blender, puree to your preferred consistency. Serve immediately.
My notes: What the heck is "grains of paradise" anyway?! I opted to use canned tomatoes, a 30 oz. can, and omitted those crazy grains of paradise. I added MORE CUMIN, a dash of garam masala and coriander, loads of freshly chopped cilantro, a few dashes of chili powder, and garlic. I don't have a fancy stick blender so I dumped half the soup into my food processor (where I also had diced the veggies) and pureed. I left the other half in its whole form because I never recalled my mother ever pureeing her lentil soup. I also felt some of the lentils should remain in their true form. I know, I have no shame.