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This comes from Melissa Clark in NYTimes Cooking and makes a great meal on its own with some crusty bread or as a refreshing starter. Its bright, flavorful and can have a bite to it if you dial up the chili powder.

For this you’ll need: 1 cup dry red lentils, 1 medium onion (chopped), 2 cloves garlic (crushed and chopped), 1 Tbsp tomato paste, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1/2 tsp chili powder or cayenne (we used ground chipotle), 4 cups vegetable stock, 2 cups water, 1 large carrot (peeled and diced), juice of 1/2 lemon (3-4 Tbsp), olive oil, salt and pepper.

In a large pot of Dutch oven heat 3 Tbsp olive oil over medium/high heat. Stir in the chopped onion and garlic until fragrant and just beginning to soften – 3-4 mins. Add the tomato paste, ground cumin, chili powder and good grinding of salt and pepper. Stir well to combine and cook over medium heat until darkening – about 2 mins.

Add in the stock, water, lentils and carrot and stir well to combine. Bring the heat up to high and get the liquid to boil. Reduce heat to create a gentle simmer and place the lid partially over the pot. Let it simmer like this until the lentils and carrot has softened – about 30 mins.

Remove from heat and use an hand immersion blender to puree some of the soup, but not so much that it is all smooth – leave it a bit chunky. Stir in the lemon juice and let it stand, covered, for a bit (20-30 mins) to solidify all of the flavors.

Serve with crust bread and further dusting of chili powder if you want t bit of kick.

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