Spiced Red Lentil Soup

by Rachel on May 8, 2013

Spiced Red Lentil Soup

I’m on a domestic US flight thinking about how much airplane food has deteriorated over the years. It’s a sad, sad thing. Generally I’m organized enough that I pack us a healthy made-at-home lunch for whatever flight we happen to be on. I failed this time and all I can think about is how much I wish I had a nice hot bowl of soup. Good soup. Not the strangely salty, overly processed stuff that comes in a can – but a hearty bowl of something made with love in a home kitchen. This recipe comes from my dear friend Chef Anne. She hasn’t been hanging around this blog as much lately. We need to do something to rectify that. One of the things Chef Anne has taught me is the importance of adding spices twice to a soup like this one. She adds one set during the cooking process, and one set after all of the cooking is completed. The second set of spices add a brightness to the taste. It’s an excellent technique, one I keep meaning to try on my own (even without Chef Anne reminding me to do it).

Spiced Red Lentil Soup (makes ten servings)

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion (red or yellow), chopped fine
  • 2 small leeks, washed and sliced fine
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and then grated
  • 2 teaspoons tumeric
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 4 teaspoons coriander
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup roasted red peppers (either fresh with skins removed or jarred and strained)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 lb red lentils, rinsed
  • 10 cups broth – vegetable or chicken

Spices to finish:

  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon coriander
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Sauté the onion and leek in the oil on medium heat until soft and translucent, 10 minutes.  Add the garlic and ginger, stir and cook 1 minute. Add spices, stir well, then add the vinegar and reduce the vinegar by half. Add the tomatoes, then the herbs and the lentils and stir to combine. Add broth, bring to a boil, then to a simmer. Add peppers. Continue to simmer, partially covered, until the lentils are very soft and falling apart, about 40 minutes. Cool slightly, then puree in small batches in a food processor, thinning with more broth if necessary. Season generously with salt and pepper. Put back in the pot, and then add the lemon juice and the finishing spices, to taste. Garnish with chopped cilantro, parsley, chives, scallions, yogurt…

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