Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Red Lentil Soup with Lemon

Weeks like these when it's snowy (again!), crazy busy, and completely jam-packed with more events than I know what to do with, I am especially appreciative of the little things: an hours-long conversation over a bottle of wine, Suz Monster's ceaseless affection, and this quiet little bowl of soup. I discovered this recipe in Melissa Clark's book, In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite, and she described it so lovingly that I had to give it a shot. It's her go-to winter soup, and now, it's also one of mine.

The red lentils make it creamy and robust enough to deliver a shot of comfort in cold weather, but eating it doesn't make you feel as though you're about to gain an instant 5 lbs of winter weight. In fact, it feels so healthy in comparison to my usual boeuf bourgignons and assortment of stews, that the words "spa food" inadvertently popped into my head while I was sipping from my spoon. "Delicious spa food," to be exact. Try it for yourselves and let me know how it goes. xo

Red Lentil Soup with Lemon
From In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite, by Melissa Clark
3 tablespoons olive oil, more for drizzling
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch of ground chili powder or cayenne, more to taste
1 quart chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup red lentils
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
Juice of 1/2 lemon, more to taste
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

In a large pot, heat 3 tablespoons oil over high heat until hot and shimmering. Add onion and garlic, and sauté until golden, about 4 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, cumin, salt, black pepper and chili powder or cayenne, and sauté for 2 minutes longer.

Add broth, 2 cups water, lentils and carrot. Bring to a simmer, then partially cover pot and turn heat to medium-low. Simmer until lentils are soft, about 30 minutes. Taste and add salt if necessary.

Using an immersion or regular blender or a food processor, purée half the soup then add it back to pot. Soup should be somewhat chunky.

Reheat soup if necessary, then stir in lemon juice and cilantro. Serve soup drizzled with good olive oil and dusted lightly with chili powder if desired.


  1. This looks AMAZING! I am SO gonna make this!! Nothing beats homemade soup! YUM!!!