Saturday, December 17, 2011

Spicy Lentil Soup

Tonight is going to be full of magic.  A celebration of one dear heart's completion of his degree and reuniting with another who's been off at med school.  And I'm going to eat my weight in Chinese food.  Holla.

But right now, I'm here to give you the antidote to those sticky buns I made.  Because while decadent and completely delish, they're...well decadent and completely delish.  And we all need balance in our lives.  The answer is a filling soup/stew that couldn't be healthier if I tried.  Lentils, greens, the healing power of ginger.  It'll let you eat at least two more of those sticky buns.
A nice hunk of crusty bread never hurt either.

It's pretty simple.  Lentils, onion, garlic, ginger, crushed fire-roasted tomatoes, sriracha, chicken broth, and mustard greens (not pictured).  The last time I made a version of this soup I used kale, but I didn't like the way the kale looked at the store.  So mustard greens it was.  You could also use collards or turnip greens.  It's whatever works for you.
Dice the onion up.  I grated the ginger and garlic on a microplane because I like the way it blends into the soup.  You could mince it if you prefer.
Heat some olive oil in your soup pot and toss in the onions when it gets hot.  After 4-5 minutes, add the ginger and garlic.
Let it cook a few more minutes.  Just until the onions are really soft and the garlic and ginger become fragrant.
Rinse the lentils and pick over them just to make sure there isn't any debris.  It would really be a shame to find a piece of dirt in your soup.
Add the tomatoes to the onions and give it a stir.  Cook 2-3 minutes.
Lentil time!  Stir in the lentils and add the chicken broth.
Now that's a soup.  Season it a little with salt and pepper.  You can adjust it later, so don't go overboard.  Let it come to a boil, then turn it down and let it simmer covered about 30 minutes.
Rinse your greens really well.  These things have grit like nobody's business.  Take the leaves off the stalks and tear the greens up into medium sized pieces.  They don't need to be tiny because they'll cook down a little bit in the soup.
Cook another 15 minutes or until the lentils are tender.
The mustard greens still stay a bright green even after cooking.  I love the pretty color they give the soup and the nutritional boost.  Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste and add as much sriracha as you can handle.  I added probably 1 1/2 teaspoons to the whole soup.
The ginger brings a nice brightness, and the sriracha adds a subtle but present heat.  I think soup should always have crusty bread with it.  This soup is fantastic when you just can't eat another buttery Christmas treat.

Spicy Lentil Soup (serves 6)

2 tbs olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 1/2 tbs ginger, grated or minced
4 cloves garlic, grated or minced
1 large can crushed fire roasted tomatoes
1 1/2 c lentils, rinsed and picked over
4 c chicken broth (vegetable broth may be substituted)
1 medium bunch mustard greens, rinsed thoroughly and torn off stalks
1 tsp sriracha sauce

  • Heat olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat.  Add the onions and cook 4-5 minutes to soften.  Add the garlic and ginger and cook an additional 2-3 minutes, until fragrant.  Add tomatoes and cook 2-3 minutes to warm tomatoes.  Stir in the lentils and add the chicken broth.  Season lightly with salt and pepper.  Bring soup to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer.  Cover and let simmer 30 minutes.  Add mustard greens and cook an additional 15 minutes or until lentils are tender.  Add sriracha and adjust seasonings to taste.  Serve warm with crusty bread.

1 comment:

  1. This look so good; I'm going to try to make this one soon :)