Let me assure you, the minute I received this magazine, I sat down and read it from cover to cover; I think I've read it every single night since it arrived in my mailbox. There are so many tempting recipes in there that I didn't know which to choose first; I had a dozen bookmarked. Then I remembered my New Year's food resolution: to try new-to-me foods, to break out of my staid food habits, to try the "exotic." What better way to celebrate a thoughtful gift.
Was I one of the last people on this planet to try lentils? I don't know why it took me so long to try them, but I was reluctant. And curry? Well, I used to love curry then it fell out of favor with me, but slowly I've been reacquainting myself with its warm flavor and aroma. Soooo....
When I saw this Cream of Lentil Soup, I knew I had to at least give it a try. Lots of fresh vegetables. And cream.
Are all lentils created equally? I do not know. I had a package of red lentils; I had a package of brown lentils. I went with the red because I liked the color. I didn't know what to expect. The recipe does not specify.
First of all, I was surprised to see that they cooked down, absorbing most of the cooking liquid, and became quite soft, as in a pea soup. I think I was expecting something more like a bean or barley, where they'd hold their shape They definitely have a bean-like or pea-like flavor, quite pleasant actually, which is a good thing since this soup is a a lentil soup after all.
What made the soup for me, though, was the curry. Wow! I am definitely back in love with curry. For me this soup has just the perfect amount, spicy, aromatic, warm but not overpowering. I would definitely make this soup again, but it would have to be just for me. Ole Sweetie-Pi tried a spoonful of it, cocked his head to one side, looked thoughtful, and then said, "I almost like this." And then he went and made himself a sandwich. Oh, well.
Let me give you the recipe as written and then I'll follow with my own changes.
Cream of Lentil Soup
6 cups reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups dried lentils, rinsed
1 bay leaf
1 whole clove **
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups coarsely chopped fresh spinach
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
In a large saucepan, combine broth, lentils, bay leaf and clove. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until lentils are tender.
Meanwhile, in a Dutch-oven, saute onion and celery in butter until crisp-tender. Add the carrots, salt, sugar, curry powder and pepper. Saute two to three minutes longer or until vegetables are tender. Add garlic; cook one minute longer.
Drain lentils. *** Discard bay leaf and clove. Add to vegetable mixture. Stir in the spinach, cream, lemon juice and parsley. Cook over low heat until heated through and spinach is wilted.
**I don't keep whole cloves in the spice rack, so I just added a pinch of ground cloves.
***I'm not sure why the lentils are drained. If it's to remove the bay leaf , I just fished about in the soup til I found the bay leaf and removed it. I was not about to drain the lentils and then do what with the broth? Toss it? I don't think so! I paid good money for that broth and it's staying in the soup. Plus, the lentils absorbed most of the liquid anyway, and I don't think the soup would have had enough liquid with just the cream. As it was, I probably could have used more broth, and the next time I make this soup, I'll keep that in mind.
Rachel, thank you so much for hosting your giveaway and for drawing my name! Happy blogoversary to you, my friend. I look forward to savoring many more of your delicious posts.