Friday, March 7, 2008

Friday Recipe

I have conquered a childhood food prejudice. As of last month, I no longer have to be forced to sit at the table all night long until I finish my lentil soup. In an effort to integrate more meatless dishes into our diet, I took a leap of faith and made this soup. I really must be a grown up now because I didn’t make any gagging noises during dinner, nor was I forced to hold my nose and close my eyes for every bite. It was actually good! Notice this recipe calls for red lentils. My lentil legume-ism is founded upon the regular sickly green colored lentils (Let’s be honest, most lentil soup looks like barf). Red lentils are so much cuter.

Why I decided to give lentils one more try:
1.) Health magazine (I’ve never read it either) recently ranked lentils among the world’s five healthiest foods.
2.) Lentils are one of those “heart healthy” foods; they are a good source of protein, fiber and iron.
3.) The lens of the eye is named after the Latin word for lentil beans - lens. Lens (the bean) became lentil in English from the Latin diminutive – lenticula, which became lentille in French and then lentil when adopted by the English language! This was the clincher for me.

Not at all Gross, Red Lentil Soup
Serves 4

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch of ground chili powder or cayenne, more to taste
1 quart chicken broth
1 cup red lentils
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
Juice of 1/2 lemon
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro.

Heat olive oil in a large pot and sauté the onion and garlic until golden. Stir in tomato paste, cumin, salt, pepper and chili or cayenne powder and sauté for 2 minutes. Add broth, 2 cups water, lentils, and carrot and bring to a simmer. Partially cover pot and simmer on medium low heat for 30 minutes, or until the lentils are soft. Use an immersion blender or food processor to purée half of the soup. Add blended soup back to pot. Stir in lemon juice and cilantro.


Kate said...

why are you trying to have meatless menus. I can't say that we eat meat all that often, but to abandon it........why? I too have always been skeptical of lental soup, but Iron Chef did a whole show on lentals, and your soup looks great, I'll have to make it.

Liz said...

Whoa, there. I never said I'm abandoning meat - I like meat. I'm just trying to integrate more plant-based proteins; it's healthy and less expensive.

Kate said...

ok, then that is legit. I go through phases of cooking with meat. Right now, I'm on an off meat phase.
Why did you add word verifcation. I hate these things.

Liz said...

I had a predatory comment that tried to give me a virus. Boo.

Nanette said...

I thought you'd gone meatless too. I don't know if I'm grown up enough for this recipe. I still think of lentil soup as the green stuff you described.