It was a lovely day. I hope that whatever you were doing yesterday was lovely as well.
And now, how about some soup? If you have been indulging like I have been lately you might be craving a nice hearty bowl of soup. This soup is one of my very favorites, but for some reason I hadn't made it in a very long time. I was so glad to remember it and plan to make it more often. Its quick, easy and vegan (though if you prefer you can make it with chicken broth instead of vegetable). I think that it's really delicious with bright flavors of tomato, lemon and cilantro and a bit of spice. I made a pot earlier this week and am looking forward to eating leftovers for lunch today.
Red Lentil Soup (adapted from this New York Times recipe)
- Olive oil
- 1 large onion (I like to chop mine coarsely)
- 2 large minced garlic cloves (more or less to taste...)
- 1 heaping TB of tomato paste
- 1 tsp cumin
- salt to taste
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- a pinch of ground chili powder and/or cayenne (I like to use generous pinches of both, but adjust to your taste or mood to make the soup more or less spicy)
- 4 cups vegetable broth (or broth of your choice... I use vegetable bullion at half strength to keep from overpowering other flavors)
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup dried red lentils
- 1 large carrot chopped (I them in large chunks, too)
- juice from 1/2 a lemon or more to taste
- Chopped fresh cilantro (they recommend 3 TB, I like to use a bit more and add more as a garnish, especially when reheating leftover soup)
- Heat olive oil (2-3 TB) till shimmering. Add onion and garlic and saute until golden.
- Add tomato paste and spices, stirring to coat the onions and garlic. Continue cooking for a few minutes more.
- Add carrots and stir to coat with the tomato paste and onion/garlic mixture. Pour in broth and water and stir. Bring to a simmer and then partially cover pot, simmering for about 10 minutes. Add lentils and cook for another 20 minutes or so, until lentils are tender.
- Use an immersion blender and partially blend the soup to thicken, leaving some nice chunks. If you don't have an immersion blender, you can blend part of the soup in a regular blender instead.
- Stir in lemon juice and cilantro. Add salt to taste.
- Serve, drizzling olive oil over the soup in the bowl and garnishing with cilantro leaves, a dusting of more chili powder and/or cayenne and another squeeze of lemon juice.
This past year I discovered a wonderful trick to keep it fresh longer. I love cooking with cilantro, but always found it hard to store it without wasting most of the bunch. What I do now is wash the cilantro, gently dry off excess water and then bunch it back up and place it in a glass of water. Finally I cover the whole thing with a plastic bag and place a rubber band around the opening to keep it closed before storing it in the refrigerator. It will last quite a while like this.
Edit: I had a question over on Facebook asking to clarify which part of the cilantro bunch you put in the water... you'll want to put the stems in the water, just like you would with a bunch of flowers. Then cover the whole thing with the bag. Hope that helps get rid of any confusion!