"There's a bit of magic in everything, and some loss to even things out." -Lou Reed

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Soup Glorious Soup


I love soup in the winter--actually I love soup anytime of the year. But it is especially nice on cold days, and we are having our fair share of seriously cold days here in NC lately.

One of my favorites is lentil soup; it is rare that several cans of Progresso lentil aren't in my pantry. I decided to give the homemade version a try, and it couldn't have been easier. I used Heidi Swanson's recipe -I have mentioned several times what a fan I am of hers- and it turned out very yummy and made a bunch. I will have lentil soup all week for lunch, and enough to freeze.

Next time I make this, I am going to add some things, maybe some other veggies. But it is really good. I used the green French lentils, and instead of Kale I used spinach. I am not a saffron fan, so I used sour cream with a little paprika mixed in as a topping and some sliced avacado. Below is the recipe--enjoy!


Lively Up Yourself Lentil Soup Recipe


I've found that French green lentils and black beluga lentils hold their shape nicely - they don't go to mush in the pot. I sometimes used fire-roasted organic crushed tomatoes, they lend a lovely deep smoky flavor to whatever you use them in. If you come across them, give them a try in this soup. If not, regular crushed tomatoes are just fine. Can't find greek yogurt, no problem - just use whole plain yogurt. Vegans can skip the yogurt entirely and finish the soup with a generous drizzle of good olive oil instead. And just a reminder, this makes a nice big pot of soup, so use a large pot - I eat the leftovers all week.


2 cups black beluga lentils (or green French lentils), picked over and rinsed

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 large onion, chopped1 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt

1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes

2 cups water

3 cups of a big leafy green (chard, kale, etc), rinsed well, deveined, finely chopped


Saffron Yogurt

a pinch of saffron (30-40 threads)

1 tablespoon boiling water

two pinches of salt

1/2 cup 2% Greek Yogurt


Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan, add the lentils, and cook for about 20 minutes, or until tender. Drain and set aside.
While the lentils are cooking, make the saffron yogurt by combining the saffron threads and boiling water in a tiny cup. Let the saffron steep for a few minutes. Now stir the saffron along with the liquid into the yogurt. Mix in the salt and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a heavy soup pot over medium heat, then add the onion and salt and saute until tender, a couple minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, lentils, and water and continue cooking for a few more minutes, letting the soup come back up to a simmer. Stir in the chopped greens, and wait another minute. Taste and adjust the seasoning if need be. Ladle into bowls, and serve with a dollop of the saffron yogurt.


Serves 6 to 8.


Variations:
- You can serve it with a poached egg on top,- or crunchy, fried shallots,- with a drizzle of chive infused cream,- or with chunks of tiny pan-fried butternut squash cubes.
- Make a thicker version by using just a bit of water, and then spoon it over an omelette in the morning.
- Have some cooked farro or wheat berries around? Toss some in. Millet might be good too.
- You can finish the soup by adding your favorite spices or spice blends. Smoked paprika, crushed chiles, toasted cumin, would all work nicely.
photo and recipe courtesy Heidi Swanson & 101cookbooks.com

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