Thursday, December 2, 2010

"comfort yourself the non-paula deen way" lentil soup

bremen has turned into a winter wonderland! the snowflakes are sticking, the christmas markets are booming, the glühwein is flowing, the waterfront looks like santa threw up all over it, and i'm in the mood for baking cinnamon-y treats and watching inane romantic comedies (serendipity!). oh yeah, and eating soup. there is something really comforting about the reward of an almost too-hot-to-swallow spoonful of soup and some hearty bread at the end of a long journey home through the snow. hence: today's entry, a lentil and carrot soup to comfort but not render you immobile the way, for instance, paula deen's cream of cheesy cheddar potato soup might :)

i've always struggled with making my soups thin enough. usually, they end up looking like a thick mush for spreading rather than a silky well for dipping. however, with this one, adding more water as you go works very well. you can start by cooking the lentils pretty much through using the recommended amount of water and then continue to add more broth as they gradually lose their shape. we don't own a blender, so soup in this apartment pretty much always has to have the word "chunky" in the title. that's not a bad thing here considering that the lentils become a smooth base by themselves and the carrots and zucchini retain their shape when you add them toward the end.


1 cup yellow lentils
2 cups water (to start)
1 tbsp vegetable broth
1 yellow onion
1 clove garlic
1 carrot
1 zucchini
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 cup parsley (as garnish)
salt and pepper to taste

start by rinsing your lentils in a sieve until the water runs clear. place lentils in a large pot with your two cups of water and a cube of vegetable broth. bring to a boil. reduce the heat to a low simmer and cover. it will take about 15 minutes for them to cook through. make sure to check on them often and stir as necessary.

in the meantime, add the olive oil and carrots to a skillet and saute for 3-4 minutes before adding your diced onion, zucchini, and finely chopped garlic. cook for another 8-10 minutes on a low heat until the vegetables start to loose their shape.

at this point, i added the veggies, another cup of water, and turmeric to the lentils. you can make the soup as thick or thin as you want by varying the amount of water you add. let the mixture simmer uncovered for another 10-15 minutes until lentils collapse and lose their shape.

salt and pepper and spice as desired. garnish with a some parsley. this paired nicely with a slice of millet bread, but i can imagine that adding a small helping of couscous or brown rice to the soup would also be quite delicious.