Monday, February 8, 2010

Soup can be a satisfying and speedy supper

Lentil soup

This recipe came from a dear friend who used to make it with green lentils but grabbed faster-cooking red lentils once. The result is a thick and satisfying soup that’s ready to eat in under an hour. You’ll see that grating the carrots and dicing the potatoes into tiny cubes also help it cook up quickly. Adding the red pepper at the end gives the soup a lovely red-orange hue.

More time savers: I buy organic carrots and organic, thin skinned potatoes so don’t bother to peel them. I simply give them a quick scrub before grating or chopping.

2 T oil
2 onions, finely diced
2-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or put through a press
3-5 medium carrots, grated
2-3 medium potatoes, chopped into little cubes
2 cups crushed tomatoes or chunky tomato sauce
About 7 cups of water or broth or a combination of both
2 cups of red lentils
1 bay leaf
1 red pepper, whirred in a food processor
Sea salt & pepper to taste
Good squeeze of lemon

In a large soup pot over medium heat saute the onions in the oil until soft then add the garlic. Stir a bit then add the potatoes. Cook, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes then add the carrots, tomatoes, water or broth, and bay leaf. Give it all a good stir, cover and bring to a boil. Add the lentils, stir again, and cover. Let it simmer away, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender. Stir in the whirred red pepper. Season with salt and pepper. Toss in your favourite herbs (fresh or dried) and serve with a good squeeze of lemon and feta crumbled over or grated parmesan.

My current favourite herb with this soup is fresh cilantro. But if I don't have any on hand I switch to dried thyme or oregano.

Add chopped cauliflower to the vegetable mixture
Toss in 1-2 cups of cooked chickpeas near the end
Add 1-2 cups of chopped spinach or swiss chard just before serving

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