Jan 19 2011
I choose/develop recipes featuring ingredients like lentils with my breath held and my fingers crossed because I know Greg will look at the grocery list, scrunch up one side of his nose and lip into a stinkface and ask “Lentils? Am I going to like lentils?.” To which I answer with an overly chipper “Sure!” And he gives me that “We’ll see about that” look.
Then I make the dish with even more trepidation because he may eat 3 bites, say “It was alright” and trot off to make a peanut butter sandwich. He’s really not a picky eater but there are certain things that I just get a feeling he won’t like (and sometimes he’s right–like the quinoa disaster of 2010).
But he actually embraced the lentil. He made the soup since I was working late and I finished it when I came home. It looked like some sort of baby bodily fluid but it was really quite delicious, not to mention satisfying and totally on-par with the gluten-, dairy-(ok, there’s a dab of butter), animal-, caffeine-, alcohol- and sugar-free diet. Which is why I attempted lentils in the first place.
Curried Lentil Soup
Adapted from Bon Appetit’s Curried Lentil Soup
3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped, divided
2 Tbsp (or more, depending on heat) curry powder
1 cup lentils
4 1/4 cups (or more) water, divided
1 15- to 16-ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained, rinsed
2-3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, divided
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
2 green onions, thinly sliced
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onion and carrot; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until onion is translucent, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Add half of chopped garlic; stir until vegetables are soft but not brown, about 4 minutes longer. Add 2 tablespoons curry powder; stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add lentils and 4 cups water. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Increase heat and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium; simmer until lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, puree chickpeas, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, 1/4 cup water, remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, and remaining garlic in processor. Add chickpea puree and butter to lentil soup. Add 1-2 Tbsp lemon juice to soup and stir. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and additional curry powder, if desired. Add water by 1/4 cupfuls to thin to desired consistency. Garnish with chopped green onion.
On first taste, I kinda think “Uh oh. I don’t even love these lentils. Greg is going to hate them.” Then, on the 5th or 6th bite, I start to think how good the soup is. By the 10th bite, I want to devour the whole bowl. There are so many layers of flavors that they don’t all come together perfectly until you get a few bites in. The magic is in the lemon juice and the salt. Like I said, I finished the soup, picking up where you add the chickpea puree. As I find with a lot of curry dishes, it’s just flat until you add in an acid and some salt and then the whole thing sings. BA recommends serving with lemon wedges so you can put your own juice in but just stirred it all in at once. Delicious and hearty as leftovers for lunch the next day too.
And now I’ve got Greg believing in lentils. Maybe we’ll give quinoa another try…or maybe we’ll just stick with lentils.
This is the last of my entries for the Charity Souper Bowl sponsored by Branny Boils Over. Three entries may be overboard but I couldn’t leave one pet with no dedication. This last one is for Holly, my oldest yet smallest pet. I would never tell the others but she is truly my favorite. She was a Christmas gift to me in 2004 when she was only about 6 weeks old–a little furry ball of brown fluff from my aunt’s farm. She’s skittish around strangers but she’ll cuddle up in your arms or race to the window to “chase” a squirrel. She’s insanely smart and I tell her she’s like me–she may be a suburban dweller now but she has her roots on the farm.