Red Lentil Soup

One of my first blog posts was a recipe for Lentil Soup that used green lentils. It tasted fine, but didn’t even look good enough to rate taking a picture.  My most recent Food and Wine magazine (February 2012) contained a recipe for Egyptian Lentil Soup that featured fresh tomatoes and small red lentils, and looked beautiful. Today I decided to try it out. I made quite a few modifications to the recipe (which I describe below) and wound up with what I think is the best lentil soup I’ve ever had. It made two quarts (plus a small bowl that I ate right away). I’ve already given away one quart and plan to make another batch very soon. It has the added advantage of being very simple, and I was able to make it using only basic ingredients that I had on-hand.

Instead of cooking the vegetables in butter, I used olive oil (and used half as much oil as the butter called for in the original recipe).  I didn’t have any celery in the house. I thought about substituting a little celery seed, but I was out of that as well, so I skipped that. I love spicy soups and stews, so I used about three-times as much of the spices. Finally, I rarely use fresh tomatoes when they’re not in season, so I substituted canned organic fire-roasted tomatoes (and a little tomato paste) for the fresh tomatoes.

In a large pot or dutch oven, heat over medium-high heat:

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil

When shimmering (but not smoking) add to the pan:

  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped (I don’t peel my carrots)
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, roughly chopped

Cook, stirring frequently (be careful the garlic doesn’t burn), for about 5 minutes until the vegetables start to soften.  Stir in:

  • 1 Tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1.5 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1.5 tsp. ancho chili powder

Turn down the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, for another minute or two until very fragrant.  Stir into the pan:

  • 1 tsp. tomato paste
  • 1 14.5-ounce can crushed fire-roasted tomatoes (I like to use Muir Glen organic brand)
  • Salt (to taste)

Continue to cook stirring frequently for about 5 more minutes.  Add to the pan:

  • 2 cups small red lentils (I buy mine in the bulk bin at Whole Foods), rinsed well
  • 6 cups water

Turn the heat up to medium high and bring to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, reduce heat to simmer and simmer uncovered for about 30-45 minutes stirring occasionally. Keep an eye on it and add up to 2 more cups water if needed. Adjust the salt to taste.  Once the lentils and vegetables are very tender remove from heat. Puree in batches in a blender or food processor, or (preferably) in the pan using an immersion blender.

Serve with:

  • dollop of plan yogurt (I like Fage 2-percent Greek yogurt)
  • juice from one lemon wedge
This entry was posted in Lentils, soup and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s