Saturday, October 13, 2012

Spicy Red Lentil Cream Soup--To Warm Up

Sometimes when the day is busy and I have no time for a lot of cooking, this simple and rich soup makes a whole dinner. It is lovely, especially on a cold and windy day as today. I always keep all kinds of lentils in my pantry and in no time I can turn them into an easy and healthy dinner that my whole family will enjoy.

Red lentils are easy to cook since, unlike some other beans, they do not require to be soaked before cooking but cook fast straight from the box. Lentils are rich in protein and for that they are much appreciated by vegetarians. Moreover, they are one of the best vegetable sources of iron, B vitamins, zinc, magnesium, and folate. So do not feel guilty for being lazy-- this lentil soup is not only simple and easy, but also very healthy. I hope this argument will convince you to try this recipe.

I like to serve this soup with Middle eastern breads and extra crème fraîche on top, particularly if I serve it as a one-dish dinner.

Spicy Red Lentil Cream Soup

(Serves six)

2 cups red lentil (about 1 lb),
500 ml carrot juice (I buy organic from Costco),
500 ml vegetable broth,
2 shallots chopped,
2 garlic cloves, minced,
1/2 cup crème fraîche (the Latin American crema fresca would be an excellent substitute for it) or any other cream you like, plus extra to decorate,
1 tsp ground cumin,
1 tsp mild curry powder,
1/ cup chopped fresh coriander leaves,
3 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp of salt, fresh, coarsely ground black pepper.


1. Heat the oil in a large heavy duty pot. Add chopped onion and garlic and fry until soft.
2. Wash and drain red lentils. Add them to the pot. Coat with onion and garlic and fry for about a minute.

3. Pour in the carrot juice and broth and let the lentils cook for about 25 minutes, until they become soft. Cooked lentil will turn into a purée almost by themselves but if you like a smoother texture, you can use a hand blender to purée it more.

4. In a small bowl mix together crème fraîche, salt, pepper, ground cumin, and curry. Add this spiced cream to the lentil and mix everything together. Bring to boil and let it simmer for about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let all the flavors infuse for about 5 minutes.
5. Pour the soup into serving bowls. Decorate with a dollop of crème fraîche and chopped, fresh coriander leaves.

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