Sunday, January 24, 2010

Green lentil soup

This article on the health benefits of soup came at the right time yesterday as I was deciding to experiment a bit in the kitchen. In December, I had made a green lentil soup the conventional way -- toss ingredients into a pot, boil, and then simmer. The result was good, if not a little bland, and I made a mental note to revisit this soup again in the future. The future arrived on Saturday and this time, with a whole afternoon stretching in front of me, I decided to experiment with a slow cook lentil soup.

Now I don't have a crock pot (well, a tiny one, but that one is reserved for oatmeal), only an electric stove. Luckily, the stove has a setting between 1 and Off called "Lo" and for the most part, that's what I kept the stove on for the 3 hours I was cooking the soup. I'm sure a gas stove would probably be better for something like that. The point is to avoid boiling the soup and to allow the flavors to seep in and also retain the nutritional value of the soup.

Anyway, the soup came out very rich, flavorful and the veggies were perfectly cooked. I would recommend checking in on the soup every 10 to 15 minutes or so to stir it and check on the "doneness" of the veggies. The recipe below makes about 3-4 servings or so. I served it over basmati rice for a hearty winter's dinner.

1 tbsp butter
1 small onion, dices
1 sprig fresh rosemary
3 cloves garlic
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
2 small tomatoes, roughly chopped
6 baby red potatoes, diced
2 cups dry green lentils
4 cups vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
1 tsp red pepper flakes
salt & pepper to taste

Over medium heat, sautee onions in butter until translucent. Add garlic, rosemary, red pepper flakes, and salt.

Still on medium heat, add celery, carrots, and potatoes. Stir. Add salt and pepper if needed. Cover for 3-5 minutes.

Add lentils and tomatoes. Stir well. Add vegetable broth and bay leaf. Stir well. Lower heat to lowest possible setting and cover. Stir every 10 to 15 minutes.

The soup should cook within 2 to 3 hours. Salt and pepper to taste, or add tabasco for additional spiciness if needed. Serve as a soup or over rice for a one-dish meal. Enjoy!

No comments: