26 January 2012

in which I make soup

"In the town of Alto, Ohio, there lived a boy named Lentil . . ."

Lentil, Blueberries for Sal, Time of Wonder, Make Way for Ducklings. Robert McCloskey wrote some of the best childrens' books in the world. So my family thinks.

(When one of my brothers recently discovered that Jared has never read McCloskey, he could find just one thing to say: "Did you even have a childhood?")


This recipe makes a thick, savory, satisfying bowl of soup. I do love me some meat but sometimes it's nice to have cheaper options still full of protein. And lentils are pleasantly low-maintenance, requiring no soaking or boiling aforethought. In half an hour you can be enjoying dinner. :)

On Sunday night I baked a pizza for the husband, made soup for me. We were both happy.

Spicy Red Lentil Soup
(adapted from Comfy Belly)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 a large red onion, chopped
2 small carrots, peeled and sliced thinly
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 a serrano pepper, minced*
4 cups chicken or beef stock
1 cup red lentils
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon tomato paste

1) In heavy pot large enough to hold at least 6 cups of liquid, heat olive oil over medium. Add chopped onion, sliced carrots, and minced garlic and pepper. Saute for a minute or two, then cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for a few minutes, until vegetables are softened but not mushy.
2) Add remaining ingredients and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until lentils are cooked to your liking. I prefer them to retain some firmness and shape, but some people like them softer.
3) Adjust seasonings to taste (my beef stock was very flavorful, so if yours is lighter you will want more salt and herbs). Serve plain, or with chopped avocado and sour cream.

*Less if you want to dial back on the spice.  And if you don't have any serranos lying about, you could season the soup to taste with ground cayenne pepper or hot sauce instead.

{image credit: Harald Walker}

1 comment:

  1. Oh, I like this variation on one of my favorite meals...