Here are two lentil soup recipes that are quite different; each is delicious in its own way. The first is a smooth, curried soup flavored with Caribbean herbs, spices and coconut milk. It hails from the 3/12 issue of Martha Stewart Living. It is yum.
Prep time: 25 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes
Yield: 4 1/2 cups
2 teaspoons safflower oil (I used a tbsp. because the garlic needed more moisture not to stick)
3 tablespoons finely chopped peeled ginger
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped (2 tablespoons)
1 large shallot, finely chopped (4 tablespoons)
2 carrots, finely diced (about 1 cup)(I used parsnips because I was out of carrots. It worked just fine.)
2 teaspoons curry powder
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk ( I used lite coconut milk and threw in the whole can ...good choice.)
1 cup red lentils
1/3 cup chopped dried cherries
3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro stems, plus 3 tablespoons cilantro leaves for garnish
Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add ginger, garlic, shallot, and carrots and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 7 minutes. Add curry powder and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, 1/2 cup coconut milk, 4 cups water, and the lentils, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until lentils and carrots are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Pour 2 cups soup through a fine sieve into a bowl, reserving solids. (I pureed the whole thing with an immersion blender...so much easier.) Puree strained liquid with remaining soup in a blender until smooth. Reheat after blending. Stir in reserved solids.
Reserving some for garnish, stir cherries and cilantro stems into soup, and ladle into bowls. Swirl in remaining 1/4 cup coconut milk, and garnish with cherries and cilantro leaves.
Now I am a bit more discerning, and will pretty much only take my wieners in a bun or in lentil soup.
Back in the 80's when Daniel and I were courting, he would cook. (That ability disappeared as soon as we moved in together a couple years later.) Lentil soup was one of his stand-bys. I have added hot dogs. (He was a vegetarian when we met...that lasted a few weeks.)
Daniel's Lentil Soup makes 4 hearty servings
1 cup dry lentils
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 can or bottle of beer
1/2 cup sliced carrots
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/2 cup sliced onions
1 tsp dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 pkg reduced fat Hebrew National Hot Dogs, sliced into 1/2" pieces
1 tbs red wine or balsamic vinegar
Put broth and lentils in a pot and bring to a boil. Cook until tender- about 10 minutes. Add beer and the remaining ingredients except vinegar. Bring back to a boil, lower heat and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Add vinegar and adjust salt and pepper to taste. You can make this soup without hot dogs ...if you must. It is still very good.
(In the lentil soup picture above, again I used parsnips instead of carrots.)