Tag Archives: lentils

French Lentil Soup

7 Apr

IMG_0689

When it comes to legumes, I almost always think of beans, too often forgetting about lentils (shame on me). Lentils are so easy to make and provide a great source of plant-based protein, fiber, iron, and magnesium.

This soup is great for a light lunch or dinner, or even a mid-day snack. After a quick chopping session, everything gets thrown into a pot and simmers for an hour. This provides time for you to get other things done, allowing the soup to be left alone except for a little stir here and there.

Flipping throughAlice’s In the Green KitchenI was reminded of her “green kitchen manifesto:”

green kitchen manifesto

I understand that sometimes these tips are easier said than done, and that location and income are huge factors that affect the desire and ability to keep a green kitchen. Try focusing on 1 or 2 of these components, and see where that takes you…

IMG_0683

I purchased my French lentils in the bulk section of my local health food store. Aren’t they beauties? These girls are hold their shape nicely when cooked, and pack such a comforting flavor.

The soup is great on it’s own with some toast or pita. You can also serve it with fluffy brown rice or quinoa. A few dabs of yogurt or a drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar add some oomph. Or even a poached egg right on top, the yolk dripping right into the broth…

French Lentil Soup

4-6 servings

adapted from Alice Waters’ In the Green Kitchen

1 tablespoons olive oil

2 carrots, peeled and diced (I used 1 carrot and 1 parsnip)

1/2 onion, peeled and diced

2 celery stalks, diced

2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

1 cup French green lentils, rinsed

7 cups of water or vegetable stock

Fresh ground pepper

Heat a large saucepan or soup pan over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the carrots, onion, celery, and 1 teaspoon of salt and cook for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables begin to dry and soften. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are tender and the onion translucent. Add the garlic and cook briefly to release the aroma.

Add the lentils and stir while adding the water/stock and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Increase the heat to high, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until the lentils crush easily and have a creamy texture. Mash some of the lentils in the pan using a whisk or a quick go with the immersion blender to thicken the soup slightly. Season with pepper. Taste and add more salt if needed.

Advertisements

Red Lentil Soup

9 Oct

The weather is turning here in New York, and that means it’s soup and stew time! Soups and stews are a treat because I can stretch a pot out for a few days, guaranteeing a healthy meal in a pinch.

Last week I made a rendition (with purple potato, romanesco, turnips, turnip greens…) of the always satisfying Tofu Panang Curry.

This week I made a riff on a soup by my favorite soup/stew queen, Heidi Swanson. She always gets her veggies in, with some sort of plant-based protein (tofu, lentils, quinoa, beans, nuts…), and then tops everything off with nuts or olives and a spoon of yogurt or a sprinkle of cheese. Her soups and stews have a little of everything, just the way I like.

I made her very simple red lentil soup. It has brown rice for texture and substance. I added in some veggies from my Sunday farmer’s market trip. To top things off, I sprinkled a hefty amount of queso fresco on top (you could use any cheese you want, or if you are vegan you could use chopped avocado and/or sliced almonds…). I also added on the side some roasted delicata squash, my absolute favorite because it is super easy to cut, and you can eat the skin!

Heidi explains:

Red lentils collapse and lose structure quite quickly – and in this case they shift color a bit. Don’t let that throw you. And it’s actually the rice that retains it’s texture here, while the lentils provide the body for the soup. So don’t be alarmed when your lentils stop looking like lentils after about ten minutes in the pot.

Red Lentil Soup

adapted from Heidi Swanson

serves 4-6

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, chopped

Optional: 2-3 shallots, chopped

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

6 cups liquid (I used 2 cups broth, 4 cups water)

1 1/3 cups red lentils, picked through and rinsed

1/2 cup brown rice, rinsed

salt, to taste

Optional: 1 chopped medium red potato (or sweet potato), large handful of chopped greens (kale, turnip greens…)

Toppings: queso fresco (or feta), roasted delicata squash…

In a big soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium and add the onion, shallots, and red pepper flakes. Let them brown, and caramelize a bit, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the water/broth, bring to a boil, then stir in the lentils and rice. Add the potato and kale, if using. Simmer for about 30 minutes or until the rice is very tender, and not at all toothsome. By this time, the lentils will have collapsed into a thick slop of sorts. If you need to add more water/broth at any point do so a splash at a time, until the soup thins out to the point you prefer.

Unless you used a salty broth, you will likely need to salt generously, until the the soup no longer tastes flat. Serve each bowl topped with queso fresco and roasted delicata squash. You can also top with avocado, olives, sliced almonds, yogurt…

Green Split Pea Soup With Curry Brown Butter Drizzle

22 May

I have a week and a half left until I go from being a full time pastry cook to a full time nutrition graduate student.

A week and a half left of lifting a gigantic hobart mixer, hauling muffin batters in and out of  low-boy refrigerators, running up and down the stairs to access the various walk-in freezers and refrigerators, getting blasted by the oven fans.

A week and a half left of standing on my feet for 9+ hours straight, scooping ice cream until my wrist hurts, slicing through 20 pound wheels of cheese, folding whipped egg whites into a cake batter.

A week and a half left of nibbling at the corners and edges of brownie scraps, sitting with the servers during the 4:30pm “family meal” before the restaurant opens, sporting my checkered pants and chef coat and clogs.

What a whirlwind year. I have gotten very strong, physically and emotionally.

Here’s to all of the amazing folks who make a restaurant run smoothly, both in the front and the back of the house.

Pretty soon I will be back to cooking dinner most nights (as supposed to my 1 night right now). This green split pea soup is healthy, filling, and gets fancy with a brown butter curry drizzle. So fragrant and comforting.

I quickly toasted some whole wheat bread croutons to accompany my soup. Snipped chives and paneer cubes as per Heidi’s recommendations sound lovely as well.

Green Split Pea Soup With Curry Brown Butter Drizzle

from Heidi’s Super Natural Everyday (you can also find the recipe on her blog, 101 cookbooks)

serves 4-6

Green split peas (and green lentils) are cholesterol-free, low in fat, high in fiber and protein, and provide potassium, iron, and thiamin

Note that leftovers thicken up in the refrigerator; just add a splash of water, broth, or coconut milk to thin out the soup as you reheat it.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin coconut oil

1 large yellow onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

5 1/2 cups water

1 1/2 cups (10.5 oz or 300 g) green split peas (or green lentils), picked over and rinsed

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon Indian curry powder

1/2 cup coconut milk

salt

optional:

1 bunch fresh chives, minced

                   2 slices of whole wheat bread, cubed and baked into croutons**

                   paneer cubes, lightly pan-fried

Combine the 2 tablespoons coconut oil, onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a large soup pot over medium heat, stirring regularly, until the onions soften, a couple minutes. Add the water and lentils and simmer, covered, until the lentils are tender. This could take 20-30 minutes, or as long as an hour (my green split peas took about an hour to fully cook).

In the meantime, warm the 3 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and let it brown. When it starts to smell nutty and fragrant, stir in the curry powder and saute until the spices are fragrant, less than a minute.

When the lentils are finished cooking, remove from the heat, stir in the coconut milk and 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and puree with an immersion blender (I don’t have an immersion blender, so I dumped my soup into my blender…it all fit in one swoop). You can leave the soup a bit chunky if you like, or puree until it is perfectly smooth (I chose the latter). Stir in half of the spiced butter, taste, and add more salt, if needed (I added a few more teaspoons worth of salt because I used water instead of broth).

Serve the soup drizzled with the remaining spice butter and sprinkled with chives and/or whole wheat croutons.

**To make whole wheat croutons, cube some bread. Toss the cubes with about 1 teaspoon of the curry brown butter and 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil. Salt and pepper then place into a 350 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes, until crisp and golden.