Recipe Exchange: Lentil Soup
I love lentil soup. I keep a variety at home and often make a quick lentil soup to keep in the fridge, one that’s adaptable to whatever I’m feeling by the addition of spices. You can make the basic recipe and eat as is, then change the flavor of the leftovers by spicing it up with some of the suggestions below. Freeze in small containers and season when you’re ready for a quick meal; this recipe makes about 10 servings.
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 large or one small onion, chopped
1-2 carrots, diced
1 celery rib, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups lentils, rinsed
2 quarts chicken stock
3-4 cups greens, cut to bite-size pieces if large (I use spinach or baby kale)
Salt and pepper to taste
Other spices as desired (see note)
Heat the olive oil in a pot over medium and add onion, carrots and celery. Sauté about five minutes, then add garlic and any other spices you’re using (see below). Let spices bloom for about 2 minutes, stirring.
Add the lentils and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 45 minutes over low. Watch the soup; if lentils are soft and soup is too thick, add a little more chicken stock or some water.
Stir in the greens and let cook for another five minutes, until they’re soft. Adjust seasoning and serve.
Note: You can go in many directions with this basic recipe. Add smoked sausage after the vegetables sauté and brown it if you want a meaty soup. Season with your standby spice blend, such as Cavender’s. Or cook Italian sausage with the vegetables and add Italian seasoning.
If you’d like an Indian flavor, add about 1 tablespoon garam masala, 1 teaspoon curry powder, and cayenne pepper to taste. Add diced potatoes if desired and a bit of coconut milk if you want a creamy soup.
For an Ethiopian twist, add about 1 tablespoon berbere spice mix, 1 teaspoon cumin, and a bit of grated fresh ginger with the garlic. Add tomato paste if desired.
Source: Jennifer Biggs