Sunday, October 3, 2010

Curried lentil soup with tomato and greens

I just watched an episode of Project Runway, and it had me bawling. What's up with that? This never happened when PR was on Bravo. But anyway,  it seemed like a good time to blog about something comforting, namely soup. This one comes together quickly, and makes a satisfying meal, perfect for these autumn days.

The original recipe (from The Gourmet Cookbook) calls for spinach, but I used radish and turnip greens. Next time I would pick one or the other - both was a bit too much. I also added carrots and potatoes to make the soup a bit heartier, and made a few other minor changes. The final product was reminiscent of an Indian dish that my mom makes often, and was nice to have around for weekday lunches. With a hunk of crusty bread, it makes a great dinner as well.

Curried lentil soup with tomato and greens
Adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook
Serves 6

1/4 cup olive oil
2/3 cup finely chopped onions
2 medium carrots, sliced crosswise (peel if the skins are really tough, I usually don't bother)
2 small boiling potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp finely grated peeled fresh ginger
1 tbs curry powder (I used Madras)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 cup lentils, rinsed
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth or stock (use vegetable stock if you want to make this vegetarian)
3 cups water
1 can (14.5 oz.) chopped tomatoes, drained
2 cups coarsely chopped spinach or other greens (such as turnip, radish, beet, or chard)
Fresh lemon juice to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat oil over medium heat in a 4-quart heavy saucepan. Add onion and carrots, and cook until lightly browned, about 6-8 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and cook for about 1 minute, stirring. Add curry powder and cumin and cook for 30 seconds, stirring. Add lentils, potatoes, stock, and water and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cover. Cook until lentils and potatoes are tender, about 20-25 minutes. If you are using tougher greens than spinach, add them to the pot after about 15 minutes of simmering.

When lentils and potatoes are tender, stir in tomatoes. If you are using spinach, add it now. Simmer uncovered until spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes. Season to taste with lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Soup freezes well.

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