In February, I returned to Seattle after spending a month in Guatemala. 36 hours later, I flew to meet my sisters in the Northern Territory of Canada to see the Aurora Borealis, then returned home five days later to cold, snowy winter weather.
I live on a very long, steep hill which for days has been used as a ski slope! Snow is a rare occurrence in Seattle, and everyone gets very amped up about winter weather–at least initially. We don’t have a lot of snow plows or salt to melt the ice, so aside from the streets with bus routes, the majority of our roads are filled with snow.
Me? I don’t love the snow or cold so much. That said – I know how to maneuver. I grew up in Iowa and experienced my share of snowy winters, so I am perfectly capable of driving and surviving the cold. Even so, I find most Seattleites aren’t such terrific drivers on snow and ice, and it worries me to attempt to drive most places. But even had I wanted to try to get behind the wheel, I awoke to find my hill blocked off. Of course I considered walking, but even schlepping around with yak tracks on my shoes on my steep hill was challenging. Meanwhile, my condo neighbor was outside shoveling every few hours, taking care that we would all be safe. He skied down our hill and then dropped off a bag of oranges for me.
I figured I had enough food and provisions to get by until it warmed up and, after foraging through my cupboards and fridge, I decided to make a pot of lemony red lentil soup. The ingredients are all things I keep around my kitchen. All I lacked was stuff for the garnish (cilantro, avocado, tomato) which is why my photo doesn’t look so pretty. Use your imagination – it would look nice with some green and red on top.
And of course, I shared some of this delicious soup, along with my homemade seeded crackers, with my kind neighbor to show my appreciation for his hard work.
Lemony Red Lentil Soup
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large brown skin onion, peeled and chopped ¼ inch
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely minced by hand
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste (remember the tube?)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Pinch of ground chili powder
- 1 quart chicken broth-I had some homemade stock in the freezer but Better than Bouillion is fine too
- 2 cups water
- 1 ⅓ cup red lentils
- 2 large peeled carrots, diced ¼ inch
- Juice of 1 lemon (about 3-4 tablespoons)
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro to garnish
In a large soup pot, heat three tablespoons oil over high heat until it shimmers. Add onion and garlic, and sauté until golden, about four minutes.
Stir in tomato paste, cumin, salt, black pepper, and chili powder and keep on the heat, stirring, for two minutes more.
Add broth, two cups water, lentils, and carrots. Bring to a simmer, then partially cover pot and turn heat to medium-low. Simmer until lentils are soft, about 30 minutes. Taste and add salt if necessary.
Turn off the heat. Use an immersion blender right in the soup pot and pulse the soup so that some smoothes out and the rest remains chunky so you have a little texture.
Add in lemon juice first and taste to see if it needs more salt. Have some garnishes on the side: diced avocado, halved cherry tomatoes, chopped cilantro, sour cream or Greek yogurt…use your imagination. You can drizzle a little olive oil at the end as well. Serve with a nice salad and some bread or crackers. MMMMMMMMMMMM