Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Cream of Lentil Soup

Rachel of Rachel vs. "The Kitchen"  recently celebrated her one year blogoversary and held a terrific giveaway. She gave away a fabulous Taste of Home Prize Winning Recipes magazine, which has a collection of 200 delicious, family tested and family approved  recipes.  And I won!   If you have visited with Rachel yet, I hope that you do.  She's down to earth, an absolute delight, and her recipes always leave me saying, "I have to make this!"

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.

42 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Trying new recipes is my favorite way to learn. This looks like a wonderful soup, lentils are so good for you!

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  3. Tempting soup! Would love to have a bowl in this cold weather...

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  4. LOL, Ol' Sweetie Pie CRACKS me up! If I didn't love you so Katy, I still come by just to read what he says. :)

    Like you I'm expanding my horizons. Curry is one of those things that's on the list as is lentils though I know I've eaten them in my twelve bean soup.
    ~ingrid

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  5. My dad loved lentils and when he made lentil soup, we all loved it. I still make it to this day and I will always make it. This recipe sounds great. I don't add whipping cream or cloves but it's pretty much the way I make my lentil soup. Yummo! Thanks Katy.

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  6. Very much healthy soup.luv to have in cold weather.

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  7. I need to try curry again-I also had a falling out with it a few years back...your soup may be the perfect place to start! It's such a gorgeous color, Katy, I know it must be delicious. However, I haven't found red lentils here, so I'll have to use brown. Thanks!

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  8. Your husband never fails to make me laugh...sounds like something my dad would say. The first time I made him winter squash he said, "I like this. But I don't like it." Typical.

    The soup looks delicious! I love the texture of red lentils. (Brown and green lentils tend to hold their shape more.)

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  9. Katy...this is the most perfect, comforting, nutritious soup to have on a cold day! I look forward to making it!

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  10. We have been eating a lot of soup lately and I'm running out of ideas...thanks for posting this one, we will certainly try it. Sounds delicious.

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  11. I adore lentils! And lentil soup! And what a beautiful dish this is! Cheers!

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  12. Katy that soup looks so good. The curry in the lentil soup just puts it over the top. I have not made lentil soup in a very long time and would love to try this recipe. Thanks!

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  13. This is the only soup i lov becoz of lentils..too good

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  14. This soup looks excellent - so creamy and delicious! The addition of curry sounds fantastic!

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  15. This is a recipe I would usually turn my nose to but this one has me intriqued. I really must try lentils. Bookmarked for when I get brave. ;)

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  16. I enjoy the lentil soup...actually I usually made them more like a stew. I will add spinach to the soup next time. Thanks!

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  17. Hi Katy, I love lentils soups and I love your recipe with cream and fresh spinach. I'm sure it's delicious!
    Cheers,

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  18. i would not have thought to put curry in lentil soup but I'm still learning about curry and I am anxious to try this. Wonderful soup Katy!.

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  19. I want to try this soup...I am trying to increase my recipes for some good soups and this one looks like the one to try....congratulations on you winning the magazine!! Blessing, K

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  20. Your soup bowl is as pretty as your soup. What a nice presentation for the table and I know it is delicious.

    I

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  21. I love lentils--have never used the red, they must be pretty--but have never had cream of lentil soup. It sounds and looks wonderful.

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  22. Oh Katy! Congrats on the win! What a delicious soup - love lentils - even my hubby loves them -or eats them wihtout complaining! Adore the creaminess!

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  23. That sounds so delicious and hearty. I love lentils SO MUCH. They are so versatile and good. I am with you on not straining the broth. That is essential to the soup! I hope you find your love for curry again. :)

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  24. How fun to win! I need to get more adventurous too! I like the addition of curry to the soup!

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  25. what a great soup. i never think to cook with lentils so this would be a wonderful way to start!

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  26. I love finding new ways to cook with healthy lentils and this looks delicious. Thanks for sharing!

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  27. Katy--I just signed into my blog for the first time in a little while and saw the comment you posted, which led me to the very sweet comments you made on your blog. I am so very glad that you're enjoying the magazine and really appreciated your kind words!

    Your soup looks delicious--I really need to start trying more "exotic" ingredients, as well...I tend to stick in my "comfort zone"!

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  28. "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."

    I actually did laugh out loud at this. My daughter turned from across the room and said, "What's so funny, mommy?" Oh well, at least he tried it.

    I think that this looks absolutely wonderful. I don't think that I've every cooked with lentils. I'd love to give this soup a try!

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  29. Congrats. I love an awesome bowl of soup, and this is one of them.

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  30. This looks wonderful, Katy! My favorite are the French lentils. I love the flavor of curry. I would love to try this yummy soup!

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  31. Your husband is certainly the comedian. He almost has the attitude of a cat. The soup looks delicious.
    Mimi

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  32. I'll remember about the broth - and you won! Congrats!!!
    Susan

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  33. Yummmm :))

    And no, all lentils are not created equal....they vary quite a bit in taste, consistency, and cooking times...

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  34. Love this post Katy! First it brought back childhood memories of lentils and escarole; not really my favorite night.

    Now, I have a package of red lentils in the cupboard that I have "put off" cooking simply because I don't want to ruin them:) I think it's high time I give them a try, with curry!!!

    Thank you so much for sharing...

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  35. Your cream of lentil soup with curry looks awesome. It's great being a foodie, then you are always open to fall in/out of love with all kinds of food.
    I hope this lentil recipe is a keeper for you.

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  36. Katy, your soup looks delicious! I have read that red lentils break down more than brown lentils. I haven't made red lentils yet but bought some to try in some Indian recipes. My experience with brown lentils is that they do keep their shape and are more "bean" like.

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  37. Congratulations Katy! What a nice prize. I bet it is full of good ones. I think you picked a winner here. I just love lentils.

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  38. Dagnabit! No spellcheck. That should be 2 CARROTS, not carros. Sorry for the error!

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  39. A creamy curry soup? Count me in! This looks excellent! I've not done much cooking with lentils - this would be a good place to start.

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  40. MMMMM,...your soup looks so tasty & appetizng!

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