Monday, March 10, 2008

Lentil Dilemma

Generally, I am not afraid to try new recipes. Trying new ingredients however, can be a bit more tricky. Let's take lentils. Now, I'm just trying to cook more healthy, vegetarian meals and I think, "Hey, I should make lentils!" And just like that, we have several different colors of lentils in the cupboard, and I've searched and bookmarked several promising lentil recipes, and tonight I am ready to make Red-Lentil Soup. There's just this one tiny thing. I had no idea that lentils behave exactly like clumping cat litter. So I'm going about my business, and following the directions, and reading my little lentil bag, which advises looking for pebbles amid my lentils, and rinsing them for a wholesome meal. And I rinse the amount of lentils I need. But some liquid escapes (honestly, this is a theme tonight, something escaping, you'd understand if you could see the mountain of cumin lurking under my right front burner, but I digress), and makes it's way into the section of dry lentils. Instant cat litter. So in order to salvage these lentils, I do what anyone who's had a completely horrible day at work and has just made dinner and has an immobilizing wrist splint on their dominant hand would do...I start a second pot of Red Lentil Soup. And it comes to me in a flash. I am Martha. And I should probably watch Ryan carefully to make sure we don't arrive at the point where he is pouring lentil soup into his loafers. And the kicker? I'm not even sure that I like red lentil soup.
Kitchen Stadium: Battle Lentil

Oh yeah. Also? Red lentils? Totally not red once you cook them.

RED-LENTIL SOUP as shown above. Not to be confused with Red Lentil Soup
adapted from epicurious

1 C lentils
1/2 C carrots, diced
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic minced
1 bay leaf
1 sprig fresh thyme
6 1/2 C vegetable broth
lemon wedges
olive oil
salt and pepper

Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a large stockpot. Add the onions and carrots and saute until soft about 5-8 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, bay leaf and thyme and cook for 1 more minute. Add the lentils and broth, 1 t salt and 1/2 t pepper. Simmer stirring occasionally until lentils are soft, about 30-45 minutes. Using an immersion blender, blend until soup is smoother, but still has some texture. Serve and squeeze a lemon wedge over each bowl.

P.S. Turns out we both like red lentil soup. Also, I bet you're still wondering about that second pot of red lentil soup. Ah, well. Tomorrow is another day.

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