My husband hates lentils. They were a staple in my kitchen for years, back in my fresh out of college, underpaid world saving vegetarian days. I moved in with my husband almost six years ago, and I don’t think I’ve cooked them since.
I miss them and I frequently joke that one day, I’m just going to make them and he will just have to deal. I haven’t carried through with this threat yet, probably because I don’t want him to take out his revenge on me through steaming bowls of French onion soup.
Well, he’s out of town this week, so I made myself a big pot of lentil soup for dinner, using carrots and sweet potatoes from our CSA box. The carrots I used were Thumbelina carrots. I felt guilty for chopping them up into unrecognizable little bits and not taking advantage of their adorable, pudgy shape, but such is life.
I don’t remember how I used to make my old lentil soup since it had been so long, but I found a great recipe on Epicurious. Maybe it was like stumbling upon an oasis after a long walk through the desert or maybe my cooking skills have just improved a lot over the last six years, but either way, the soup was better than I remember. I may need to make him go out of town more often.
The original recipe comes from the May 1998 issue of Bon Appetit and can be found here. I halved it because I didn’t need 6-8 servings and tweaked it a bit, so I’m giving you my version.
Curried Lentil Soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion or large shallot, chopped
1 medium sweet potato, peeled, chopped
1 cup of carrot, peeled, chopped
1-2 tablespoons curry powder
pinch or two of cayenne pepper
* with the spices, I recommend starting with 1T and 1 pinch, then adding
more later in the cooking process if needed
3 cups low-salt chicken or vegetable broth
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
1 cup lentils (about 6 ounces), rinsed, drained
Fresh cilantro for serving
Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, potato and carrot and sauté until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Mix in curry powder and cayenne and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add broth, tomatoes with juices and lentils and bring to boil. Cover pot, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until lentils are very tender. The recipe suggests 45 minutes, but I needed closer to an hour.
Season soup to taste with salt and pepper and additional spices if needed. Garnish with a bit of fresh chopped cilantro.