Monday, April 29, 2013

Smoky Red Lentil Soup

Let me start this post by saying that, although this is a pureed soup, it is not meant to be sipped with a straw.  I'm not automatically saying no to the whole thing, just pointing out that I believe it's best with just a spoon.
The first time I cooked up this recipe from Sprouted Kitchen, I was on the phone with my dad just before busting out my immersion blender to smooth it out.  His response when I told him what I was doing was, "So, do you use a straw?"  Actually, this is a totally valid question coming from him, as he had to drink meals through a straw when he had jaw surgery many years ago.  If you're having oral surgery that involves your jaw being wired shut, this soup might just hit the spot.
During the in-between season of spring and winter (when will actual spring pop up?), I like soups that aren't crazy heavy (cream-based) and chunky (chilis).  This comes together relatively quickly, with the exception of a roasted sweet potato that takes about 45 minutes to cook.  It's a complete meal, full of lentils, onions, a bit of Greek yogurt for protein, and the above-mentioned starch.  As per my pregnancy cravings, we usually serve this with these biscuits; it can't be beat.

Smoky Red Lentil Soup, from The Sprouted Kitchen, 2012
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Spanish onion, coarsely diced
Smoked sea salt and ground pepper
3 celery stalks, diced
2 c. dried red lentils, rinsed
2 tsp. smoked paprika
1 Tbsp. cumin
4 c. low-sodium veggie or chicken broth (I've used both, and actually prefer the veggie)
1 small sweet potato
1/2 c. chopped fresh cilantro
Juice from 1 lemon or lime
Greek yogurt, for garnish

1. Wrap sweet potato and roast it at 400 degrees for 45 minutes, until easily pierced with a fork.  Set aside.
2. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat, add onion and salt, and cook until onion is translucent, 5-8 minutes.  Add celery, stir, and cook until just softened, 5ish more minutes.
3. Add lentils, paprika, cumin, and broth.  Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to a simmer.  Cover and let cook for about 15 minutes, until lentils are soft but not falling apart.  Remove from heat.
4. Peel sweet potato and add flesh to the lentils.  Using an immersion blender (or doing batches in a blender), puree the soup until it's just blended but has some texture.  Season to taste.
5. Serve into bowls and top with a dollop of yogurt (and chives, if you have a few on hand).  Enjoy!

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