I’ve discovered that now that I have a food blog, all of my friends who are devoted home cooks share their recipes with me. I should have started blogging ages ago. I love having all of these new recipes to try. In my grandmother’s generation neighbors actually spoke to each other and as they traveled back and forth up and down the block they shared more than gossip, they shared cooking techniques, recipes, strategies for coping with toddlers, gardening ideas, hopes and worries. In our strangely isolated modern lives many of us have lost that neighborly connection. We now share these same things on the internet, on facebook and on twitter. Truth be told, I’m one of those aberrant souls who knows all of her neighbors. In fact, I even share recipes with them. No, seriously, I do. This soup recipe comes from the kitchen of my friend Judy (not a neighbor) who is a devoted home cook and has exquisite taste. After I finish cooking I’m going to share the recipe with my neighbor. Make a pact with me – and promise to share a recipe, any recipe, with someone in your neck of the woods. Make a connection. You’ll be glad you did.
Red Lentil Soup with Lemon (4 medium servings)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, more for drizzling
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 – teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- A pinch of ground chili powder or cayenne
- 1 quart chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 cup red lentils (don’t substitute, or at least try it with red lentils first)
- 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
- Juice of 1/2 lemon, more to taste
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
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. Stir in tomato paste, cumin, salt, black pepper and chili powder or cayenne, and sauté for 2 minutes longer.
Add broth, 2 cups water (this is important – you need the water), lentils and chopped 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.
Using an immersion or regular blender or a food processor, purée half of the soup then add it back to pot. The soup should be somewhat chunky.
When ready to serve, reheat soup if necessary and then just before serving stir in lemon juice and cilantro. My friend Judy says to serve the soup drizzled with good olive oil, a dollop of Greek yogurt and dusted lightly with chili powder. I have to admit, I did none of those things and we still LOVED the soup. My older son, admittedly a soup addict, asked how soon it would be before I made it again. So, I can only imagine how completely fabulous it would have been had I managed to do all those other lovely things Judy suggested.