Lentil Soup

Lentil Soup

Until recently I've only intimately known a few soups. Let's see, there's tomato and vegetable (homemade, of course), French-onion (which is probably my favorite), and of course broccoli-cheese (one of the great comfort foods of all time if you ask me.) But bean soups? I wasn't all that familiar with them. There are so many to try: minestrone, Italian wedding soup, and tons of white-bean soups with spinach or kale and sausage (doesn't the sound of that make your mouth water?) In other words there's a whole world of soup out there for me to explore. And that's why this Lentil Soup from Melissa Clark (you know how I feel about her) struck a cord with me.

Y'all ... it was soooo good. Even Cash loved it; every time I turned around to spoon some up for myself he was like a little bird beside me, mouth open waiting for his mama to give him more.

Lentil Soup

It probably does seem like a strange time of the year for soup. The days are longer and warmer, and the nights are starting to give way to barbecues and pool parties now that Memorial Day is behind us. But when your husband is under the weather and has been living off canned tomato soup for a few days you start to feel bad for him. And you want him to lay off the sodium (have you seen how much is in those soups?) It's a plus that you have a new recipe to try and you have all the ingredients already in the pantry. Score on that one, you know?

I served this with a green salad and Cheddar Cheese Puffs, which omigod you have to make. (I promise to give you the recipe soon.) This is a simple soup that comes together in no time, but it really packs a punch in the flavor department. I'm so glad I bookmarked it all those months ago. It might not be cold outside, but shoot, the A/C is on so go ahead and give the stove a workout. You won't regret it.

Lentil Soup

This recipe is my submission to My Legume Love Affair, 11th Helping, hosted by Taste with the Eyes. (The Well-Seasoned Cook has the whole bean lineup for your perusal.)

Red Lentil Soup with Lemon
The New York Times, Melissa Clark, January 9, 2008
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3 tablespoons olive oil, more for drizzling
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch of ground chili powder or cayenne, more to taste
1 quart chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup red lentils
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
Juice of 1/2 lemon, more to taste
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro.

1. In a large pot, heat 3 tablespoons oil over high heat until hot and shimmering. Add onion and garlic, and sauté until golden, about 4 minutes.

2. Stir in tomato paste, cumin, salt, black pepper and chili powder or cayenne, and sauté for 2 minutes longer.

3. Add broth, 2 cups water, lentils and carrot. 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.

4. Using an immersion or regular blender or a food processor, purée half the soup then add it back to pot. Soup should be somewhat chunky.

5. Reheat soup if necessary, then stir in lemon juice and cilantro. Serve soup drizzled with good olive oil and dusted lightly with chili powder if desired.

Yield: 4 servings.