I think I’ve mentioned before that I started a new job this year. In my previous job, I traveled almost every two weeks and was away a lot. While it was fun and a perfect time in my life to travel and see the country, near the end, I was ready to just be home and actually live my life. I started a new job in September working for a not-for-profit company located right downtown in Ann Arbor. The job is great, pretty laid back, I can take the bus to work and I’m home for dinner every night with my favorites! It’s been working out so well. Another added benefit? Having random days off in observance of holidays, like President’s Day today! I spent the day catching up on sleep, hanging out with the pup, and making a most fabulous soup for lunch.
One of my best friends, who lives in Mississippi, made a lentil soup last week and was nice enough to share her recipe with me. I made a few changes to fit my needs a little better, and I also scaled it down so I wouldn’t have a ton of leftovers.
The only lentils I’ve ever cooked with is for Indian cooking to make dal. I’ve actually never made a lentil soup with brown lentil that needed to really cook for a long time. The other star ingredients?
Fire roasted tomatoes and ground cumin! That plus other spices made this soup spicy, hearty, filling and full of flavor! You’re sure to love it. The great thing about soup is that you can throw anything you want into it. If you have leftover veggies, throw them in! I kept this soup simple with just some root veggies, though.
Here’s what you need:
•1 tablespoon olive oil
•1/2 cup brown lentils, picked through and rinsed under cold water
•1 carrot, diced
•1/2 cup red onion, diced
•1 Yukon gold potato, peeled and cubed
•1 teaspoon garlic, minced
•1 14.5-oz. can fire roasted tomatoes (you can use the kind with roasted garlic, or any flavor you want)
•1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
•1/2 teaspoon paprika
•1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
•1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
•1/2 teaspoon salt
•1/2 teaspoon pepper
•2 cups vegetable stock
•1/2 cup water (more as needed)
In a large pot, heat one tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat. When it’s hot, add in the onions, carrots and potatoes. Cook about 5-8 minutes until so they start to cook and get a little soft (the potatoes will take longer to soften, but they’ll cook completely through the duration of the recipe). Add the minced garlic and stir for 1 minute to allow it to cook and blend in with the flavors.
Add the can of tomatoes (liquid and all!), vegetable stock, spices and stir well. Cover and bring to a boil (about 15-20 minutes). Once it’s boiling, simmer partially covered for another 15 minutes. After that, you may need to add more liquid if you notice the soup getting too thick. You can add 1/2 cup water, then add in the lentils, leave uncovered and cook for 40-45 minutes or until the lentils are soft. If you notice the soup losing too much liquid, you can add more water, 1/2 cup at a time until it’s the soup-y consistency you want.
Ladle into soup bowls and enjoy! Optional garnishes: chopped cilantro or parsley, freshly squeezed lemon juice or drizzle of olive oil. Serve with crusty bread or roll. This should serve about 4 people.
OK so this soup might not be presidential, but I do know it was delicious and perfect for a relaxing day at home.
What are your favorite flavor combinations in soup?