Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Week 2: Lemony Lentil Soup

I think that dried beans are underrated and underutilized. This may be due to the length of time that they take to cook, which is certainly a hindrance to someone who wants a meal in an hour. But they are cheap, usually $.90 - $.1.50 for a pound, which will feed 6-8 people. Legumes absorb liquids and seasonings well, making them flavorful once cooked, and they help fight against heart disease and cancer, can lower cholesterol and be beneficial to those with diabetes. I wholeheartedly encourage you to explore beans of every variety. Maybe try some cranberry beans, some heritage Berlottis, or good old-fashioned white navy beans. There are hundreds of kinds, so you will never get bored!

This week’s dish uses lentils, which like their cousin the split pea, cook very quickly and make quite a tasty meal. Lentils can be cooked plainly with some diced garlic and onion and curry to make a simple daal (served with plain yogurt), or they can be dressed up with lots of veggies, herbs, maybe some ham, and served for supper. They can be cooked with a small amount of liquid (water or broth) to make a hearty stew-like dish, or you can add a large amount of liquid to make a soup. Either way, start to finish, you can be done in an hour or less. This particular recipe makes use of our Meyer lemon bounty, which is just now ready to pick.

Today's recipe took me about 30 minutes from the time I walked in the kitchen to the time it was served. It got positive reviews from the family, made enough for 6-8 people, and it did not take any great culinary skill. A bit of chop, a bit of dice, a stir here, and you are done. It can be served to carnivores and herbivores alike, including vegans.

Originally a lentil dish featured in Sunset magazine, I turned it into soup by adding additional broth. (Depending on how thick you like your soup you can adjust the amount of broth.)

Lemony Lentil Soup

2 tablespoons butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups yellow or brown lentils
7 cups vegetable broth
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
Grated or zested peel from 1 lemon (yellow part only)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper
Lemon wedges
Shaved or grated parmesan

Melt butter in a 3-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and stir until just beginning to brown, about 1 minute.

Add lentils and stir to coat with butter, then add broth. Simmer on low, covered, until lentils are tender but not too mushy, 20 to 30 minutes. They will thicken as they cool.

Stir in ginger, lemon peel, juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with parmesan and lemon wedges on the side.

Servings: 4


Katie said...

I made lemon lentil soup this week too. My version is a Lebanese recipe that's super-easy to make, and really tasty and filling. I had it at a restaurant recently, and wanted to recreate it at home. I am happy to add it to my soup arsenal!

Mrs. B said...

Thanks Katie. My husbands father is Lebanese, so I try to incorporate special treats for him from that region. Will have to try this!