Posted by: tinkande | November 22, 2010

Spiced Tomato & Red Lentil Soup

Lentils are not something I’ve experimented with in the kitchen before now. I don’t really know why. I love to eat them, especially in soups. They’re also a great source of protein and they’re a little bit more delicate than other legumes, which I love.

I came across this recipe in one of my Fine Cooking magazines, bookmarked it, and then promptly forgot about it for a year. Oops. I finally remembered it this fall, though, and brought it back to the top of the “recipes to try” pile.

Well I know I always say this, but I can’t believe I waited so long to make this soup! So good, so good, so good. The lentils were tender. The balance of sweet and spicy was delightful, and there was just enough cayenne pepper to warm you up but not send you running away from the table.

Spiced Tomato & Lentil Soup
Source: Fine Cooking
Serves 8

3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
Kosher salt
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
2 quarts low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes (you can also use canned whole or diced tomatoes and pulse them a few times in a food processor or blender)
1 pound (about 2 1/3 cups) dried red lentils, picked over, rinsed, and drained
2 medium celery ribs, cut into small dice
1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into small dice
2 medium garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Heat the oil in a 6-quart Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and a generous pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened and just starting to brown, 6-8 minutes. Add the curry powder and garam masala and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Add the broth, tomatoes and their juices, lentils, celery, carrot, garlic, cayenne, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently to keep the lentils from sticking; skim any foam as necessary. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the lentils, carrots, and celery are tender, 35-40 minutes. Season to taste with salt.  Serve with warm bread (I like it with Naan).

Leftovers may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

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