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Happy 2012! One of my resolutions this year is to post a recipe I’m currently making on the first Wednesday of every month – something I love but more important – a dish that is extremely easy to prepare. There might not be a rhyme or reason to these posts, but I feel like switching it up a bit so here goes #1 for 2012…
I love to make this red lentil soup when it is cold outside and when I don’t feel like going grocery shopping. All the ingredients – ginger, spices, red lentils and broth – are items I always have in my pantry or freezer. And the spicy ginger and inviting orange color make this soup the perfect solution to warm your insides on chilly days. This is easy, a little different and delicious for dinner with some homemade corn bread and a nice salad. Boy, does it ever make your house smell great!
Winter Red Lentil Soup
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- ½ large onion , diced small (around 1 cup)
- 1 Tbs. ginger root, peeled & grated
- 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground curry powder
- 1 cup red lentils* (see note below)
- 5 cups of chicken broth or vegetable broth (homemade or canned)
- 1-14 ½ oz can diced tomatoes with their juice (I like organic Muir Glen fire roasted tomatoes, but any brand will do)
*Red Lentils are high in protein and iron; they are often used in Turkey, India, Afghanistan and Pakistan. They become mushy as they cook so they are easier for you to digest. Red lentils are very small and can be found in the bulk section of many markets or are packaged – the bag might say “masoor.”
Heat oil in a 4 quart soup pot over medium heat and sauté onion, ginger and garlic for 3 minutes. Add spices and stir for 30 more seconds until they become aromatic.
Add the lentils, broth and tomatoes and bring to a boil over medium high heat, cover and reduce heat to low. Set simmer for 45 minutes.
You can either use a hand blender, a regular blender or food processor to emulsify it until it is smooth. I have an old Braun “stick” immersion blender that I utilize so that I can just stick the wand into the pot of hot soup and blend away. This contraption comes in handy when making applesauce, smoothies, potatoes, baby food and other “creamy” soups or sauces, and a myriad of other dishes when I want a smooth texture but don’t want to fuss with cleaning a regular blender. All I do when finished is fill a large bowl with a few drops of dish detergent and water, then blend this mixture. Rinse it, dry it and the immersion blender is ready for the next time. (Waring and Cuisinart both make a stick blender for under $50.) If you don’t have an immersion blender, use a regular blender but be sure to cool down the soup a bit and blend in about three batches.
I serve this with a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt, some chopped parsley and a warm loaf of homemade honey oatmeal bread (recipe coming soon!).
- You don’t need to blend this soup – it is equally delicious as is!
- This soup freezes extremely well for up to 3 months