Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Curry Lentil Soup

Brandon came home from work sick yesterday and the first thing he asked was whether we had anymore chicken soup. Unfortunately for him, I'd eaten the last can of Progresso the week before when my cold was at its worst, but a quick survey of the cupboard revealed a bag of lentils ...

I decided to make lentil soup. Although I perused a couple online recipes, ultimately I made up my own and it was a hit with both Brandon and Emiko, the World's Pickiest Toddler.

The great thing about this dish is that it's packed with fiber and protein from the lentils, not to mention the nutritional goodies from carrots and cauliflower. The other thing that's nice about dried lentils is they don't have to be soaked overnight.

Here's the hearty, Indian-style soup I came up with using ingredients we had at home:

Curry Lentil Soup
4 strips of bacon cut into lardons
1 yellow onion diced
1 carrot diced
3 large garlic cloves minced
1 head of cauliflower, chopped into florets
1 lb. of dried green lentils
1 tsp. yellow curry powder
1/2 tsp. ground coriander seeds
1/3 tsp. ground cumin
1 qt. chicken stock
1 qt. water
1 tbs. salt
freshly ground black pepper

In a large pot, fry the bacon on medium heat to render out the fat. Lower heat and add onion and carrots. Sweat the vegetables with a pinch of salt and pepper until onions are translucent, stirring occasionally. Mix in garlic, then add cauliflower, curry, coriander and cumin.

Rinse lentils and drain before combining with veggies in the pot and stir. Pour in the chicken stock and water, making sure to deglaze any brown bits of bacon stuck to the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover. Check occasionally and add more water if necessary.

Once lentils are tender, add remaining salt and pepper to taste. If you salt the lentils before they're tender the skins will toughen and prolong cooking time, which is about an hour.

I went easy on the curry since Brandon was under the weather. One teaspoon was just enough to give it some flavor, so if you want more heat boost the amount of curry and maybe toss in a few pinches of chili powder.

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