Sunday, January 29, 2012

Red Lentil Soup

So, I told you all about lentils and then promptly forgot to post the corresponding recipe. 
Whoops. It is like that sometimes. 
This is a brilliantly colored soup with fantastic flavor that comes together fairly quickly. 
It is the perfect bowl of dinner for a wet, cold winter night.
I know I say this all the time, but I mean it. I love eating at my own house.  
We we traveled a bit this weekend, and will be out of town again this week too.
And as much as I love trying exciting new food- like the hot and crunchy, 
sesame seed, almond, arbol chili flake, corn flake crusted avocado cone from 
The Mighty Cone food trailer in Austin, and  the deep, savory satisfaction of the yesimisisr wot (another amazing lentil dish) from the Ethiopian restaurant we grabbed dinner at in Pfluggerville, TX. 
I can't wait to try to recreate those flavors at home.

But I am always glad to be home. I love to cook here, I love to eat here 
and I love to share that with my family. I felt it again tonight as I sliced vegetables for dinner while my three year old daughter rubbed them with herbed olive oil marinade for the grill.
My husband assembled the finished sandwiches and 
my son turned to thank everyone involved for the tasty dinner. 
It was good.

Red Lentil Soup with Lime
tweaked from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

2 cups split red lentils, picked over and rinsed several times
1 tbsp. tumeric
3 tbsp. butter
Kosher salt
1 large onion, diced
2 tsp. ground cumin
1½ tsp.  mustard seeds (yellow or brown work fine)
½ bunch cilantro, chopped
Juice of 3 limes, or to taste
1 bunch kale, or other leafy green, chopped into small pieces (I’ve also used beet greens)
1 cup cooked rice
Plain yogurt

Put the lentils in a soup pot with 2 quarts (8 cups) of water, the tumeric, 1 tablespoon of the butter, and 1 tablespoon of salt. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, covered, until the lentils are soft and falling apart, about 20 minutes. Purée for a smoother texture (an immersion blender is great here).

While the soup is cooking, prepare the onion flavoring: Heat a medium skillet over medium heat and throw in 1 tablespoon of butter. Once it is melted, add the onions and a large pinch of salt. Cook for another five minutes, until soft, then add the cumin and mustard seeds. Turn the heat to medium-high and allow the onions to brown slightly, stirring occasionally. This slight bit of char will add great flavor to the soup. Add the cilantro and cook just until it wilts.

Add the onions mixture to the soup, then add the juice of two of the limes. Taste, then add more if needed to bring up the flavor. The soup should be a tad sour.

Just before serving, add the last tablespoon of butter to the same skillet the onions were cooked in. Once melted, add the kale and a large pinch of salt, and cook just long enough to wilt. Add to the soup and let all the flavors blend for a couple of minutes. Even though you have added salt several times along the way, you will probably need to add more to your taste at this point. If the rice is warm, place a spoonful in each bowl. If it’s leftover rice, add it to the soup and let it heat through for a minute. Serve each portion with a dollop of plain yogurt if desired.

Does anyone out there have a good recipe for yesimisisr wot?

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