Lentils. I’ve never really given them much thought and never even had any in the house, but we had some lentil soup at a local restaurant and James seemed to enjoy it. Although I liked the way it tasted, the brown-mush-look in combination with the dreary Atlanta weather didn’t exactly appeal to me. Regardless, I grabbed a bag of red lentils at the grocery and resolved to do something with them. Something cheery and not brown, preferably.
Well….curry, carrots, turmeric, and sweet potatoes put some color in those lentils, lemon juice perked it up, and coconut milk added creaminess and more dimension to the flavors. This is a cheery soup that might help you forget that it’s cold and the sun isn’t shining. It’s probably pretty good for you too!
I was inspired by this article at Food52 on How to Make Lentil Soup Without a Recipe. (Yet, I still made a recipe out of it. Oops!) Check out the link for other suggestions on making lentil soup.
- 1/2 large sweet onion or 1 large shallot, chopped
- 2 medium-sized carrots, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil and/or butter (or oil of choice)
- 1 sweet potato, cut into small cubes
- 1 teaspoon curry powder (I used 1/2 t hot curry and 1/2 t sweet curry)
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander
- 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
- 1 to 1 1/2 cup red lentils, rinsed well
- 4-5 cups broth (homemade preferably)
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)
- Juice and zest from one lemon
- 1 14 oz can full-fat coconut milk
- Kosher salt, to taste
- In a Dutch oven or other large pot, saute the onion, carrot, and celery in the cooking oil until softened. Stir in the sweet potato chunks.
- Add the curry powder, turmeric, cumin, coriander and ginger to the vegetables and continue to stir over medium heat for a couple of minutes to bloom the spices.
- Add the rinsed lentils and broth to the pot, turn up the heat, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for around 30 minutes until the sweet potato is soft and the lentils are tender. Stir occasionally. (I would start with 4 cups of broth and add more as needed to keep the lentils covered in liquid.)
- Using a stick blender, blend the soup until smooth. (If you like it more chunky, you can omit this step or partially blend the soup.)
- Stir in the lemon juice and fish sauce (if using). Add the coconut milk to the soup and cook until heated throughout. Season with salt, to taste.
- Serve hot and enjoy! Optional toppings: sour cream, toasted pumpkin seeds (pictured)
Two legendary talents today. First up, Jim Lauderdale with his new record, I’m A Song. Just watched a great documentary on him that showcased the rise of this great songwriter and performer, and had several songs from this album including “The Day The Devil Changed” and his ode to George Jones “The King of the Broken Hearts”. Great Americana talent that can go from straight-up country to bluegrass and all points in between.
Looking forward to seeing our next recommendation in Santa Fe soon, the great Lucinda Williams. Her new record, Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone is tremendous, with Williams strong as nails vocals on “Cold Day In Hell” and a great cover of JJ Cale’s “Magnolia”. In a career marked by acclaimed works, this is one of her best.