Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Oh maaaan, Jess, lentil soup aggaaaaain? Hear me out. Your only other options right now are Egg Nog Bread Pudding, Chocolate Cake or Homemade Peanut Butter Cups, as these are the other recipes I’ve got in the queue. Is that what you want the first week of January? Is it? Huh?? I didn’t think so. Now I don’t believe you need a New Year’s Resolution to make a change in your life, but I do believe that by this time of year our collective glycemic indexes are crying uncle and the sweet tooth is ready to take a well earned week off. Whether you start the year off resolving to change your diet or not, it is the perfect week to add something truly healthy to your arsenal, is it not? This recipe is easy, healthy and cheap. You cannot beat this combination right now. All December long our schedules and mouths are packed full and our wallets are drained and emptied; it’s time to reverse the cycle.
This soup is indeed very healthy but yet…intriguing (eyebrows raise), thanks to the earthiness of pungent curry and the slight tang of lemon. It’s a thick and hearty soup that will stick to your ribs like a bowl of mashed potatoes without any of the quilt of well, eating a bowl of mashed potatoes.
I know that not that long ago I crowed from the rooftops about a red lentil soup that was slightly similar so I’m sorry if I’m boring you. But right now it’s January, it’s freezing (if you live near me) and it’s time to fight back against the deluge of sweets and cheese plates that assaulted us from November until now. I have to tell you I have made this soup twice in the past month or so and the first time I licked the bowl. Seriously. Don’t worry I was at my house by myself so it wasn’t awkward for anyone else.
This recipe is from my favorite girl crush of all time, Molly Wizenburg. I have read every blog entry she has ever posted, laughed and cried over her cookbook/memoir, A Homemade Life and every month, when my Bon Appétit arrives in the mailbox, I turn straight to her column to see what she’s cooked up there. I’m a little obsessed. It’s almost creepy at this point, but just to be clear, when Molly says this lentil soup is good, I know with complete confidence that she would not lead me astray. I can trust her, which is more than I can say for a lot of recipes that fly around out there. Additionally, when I read her article in last month’s Bon Appétit where she wrote about this soup I was fascinated by the addition of a chickpea puree, essentially almost a hummus, as the thickening agent. I don’t know if you know about us and hummus but it’s like currency at our house. If we’re out we flounder in front of the fridge lost and confused. It’s a staple to put it lightly (right now we have two party sized tubs I anticipate will last until probably Saturday) We HEART chickpeas. So as you can gather the opportunity to try out a lentil soup with chickpea puree was something that simply had to happen. And we weren’t disappointed in the least.
CURRIED LENTIL SOUP
(from Bon Appétit)
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 small or ½ large onion, diced
2 large cloves garlic, minced, divided
1 cup French lentils*
2 tablespoons (or more)** Curry Powder
4 cups water
1 can chickpeas
1-2 tbs. lemon juice
2 tbs. butter
*French lentils are dark green and can be found in the bulk bean section of most grocery stores. And don’t worry even though they sound fancy, they’re not expensive. I bought a container for I think $2.77 and was able to make two pots of this soup out of ‘em.
**I’m a bit of a spice slut, so I used way more. It was delicious but my house smelled like a Mumbai taxi cab for four days, so be forewarned.
Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large stock pot or Dutch oven. Add carrot and onion and sauté for a few minutes until softened. Add half of the garlic and sauté another minute. Sprinkle in curry powder and stir everything together until fragrant (about another minute) add water and bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and let cook until lentils are tender (about 25-30 minutes).
While the lentils cook, get out your trusty food processor and make your chickpea paste. Drain and rinse one can of chickpeas and then dump them in your Cuis’, drizzle a little olive oil (about 1-2 tbs.), lemon juice and the remainder of your chopped garlic. Puree until it looks a bit like hummus. Check your lentils for tenderness, if they are ready, simply add the chickpea puree and the butter to the pot and stir everything together to combine. Serve garnished with chopped scallions and a wedge of lemon for squeezing over, if you wish.