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This recipe is from the Williams Sonoma "Soup for Supper" cookbook. I think it is exceptionally good. While lentil soup is usually comfort food, this variation makes it a bit exotic, too. The fragrant Indian spices lighten and brighten the simple, homey flavor of the soup. Red lentils have a tendency to break down into a coarse puree as they cook, so if you prefer some texture, omit the blender or food processor step.
- 1 1⁄2 cups red lentils
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons peeled and grated fresh ginger
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
- 6 cups water or 6 cups vegetable stock or 6 cups chicken stock
- 1 1⁄2 cups peeled seeded and diced tomatoes (fresh or canned)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice (to taste)
- salt & fresh ground pepper
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint or 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro
- Pick over the red lentils and discard any misshapen lentils or stones.
- Rinse lentils and drain.
- In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.
- Add the onion and saute, stirring occasionally, until tender and translucent (8 to 10 minutes).
- Add the coriander, cumin, ginger, turmeric, and cayenne and stir to mix well.
- Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, to release the flavors of the spices (2 to 3 minutes).
- Add the lentils and then gradually add the water or stock, stirring constantly.
- Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low, cover partially, and simmer until the lentils are very soft (30 to 40 minutes).
- Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
- Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender or food processor.
- Return the soup to a clean saucepan and place over medium heat.
- Stir in the tomatoes and lemon juice and cook until heated through.
- Season with salt and black pepper.
I omitted the cayenne, and didn't puree the final mixture. I'm sure this affected presentation, but it leaves the soup with that wonderful red lentil texture. Delicious blend of flavors - very healthy and exotic!