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Friday, December 13, 2013

Red Lentil Soup


It was an unusually cold and windy day.  Brrrrrrrr..... -10 C and the windchill was even colder.  Felt just like the dead of winter.  December is not usually THAT cold. 

Verna (my daughter-in-law's mother) and I were babysitting our little granddaughter who lives an hour's drive from our town.  We dropped into the local Dominion Superstore before we started our
"job" and I found bags of red lentils marked down 50%.  Oh, joy!  I love those pink tags.  I purchased 3- two pound bags as lentils never go bad if they are kept dry.  You could probably use lentils that had come from the tombs of the Pharaohs, but the best before date on these is 2015!


We had a lovely day with Baby and she was good enough to sleep the whole time her mother and father were gone.  She didn't even know they had left.  She is such a little dolly.

On our way home I had to stop off at a couple of stores and by the time we were on the highway I was chilled to the bone and all I could think of was hot lentil soup.   Soup that will warm you from the top of your nose to the ends of your toes.  Soup so simple and quick, so tasty and good.  I had all those lentils in the back of the car so lentil soup it was.

Red Lentil Soup is a favourite of Scotland and as I'm of Scottish ancestry (on both sides) it is only fitting that I give you this recipe.  Lentils come in many varieties but the most available kinds are the green, brown and red lentils.  The red lentils cook the quickest and break down in a lovely mush suitable for soups.  

Some people like to flavour this soup with curry, cumin or cilantro but I prefer it plain and simple. I'm sure my Scottish ancestors wouldn't have even used celery.  But when you make it you can put in whatever you please.  The amount of vegetables is very subjective as well--more or less to please.  And if you like a thinner or thicker soup adjust the liquid.  After all it's soup, not science. 


Red Lentil Soup
2 tablespoons butter or oil
2 medium onions, diced
3 or 4 stalks celery, sliced
3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
1 small turnip (rutabaga), peeled and diced
8 cups water or vegetable broth (can use bouillon cubes)
1 large potato, peeled and diced
2 cups red lentils, rinsed
Salt and pepper to taste
 
In large saucepan sauté onions and celery in butter or oil until just starting to caramelize.  Do not burn.  Add the carrots, turnip, broth and lentils.  Let come to a boil and simmer 10 minutes.  Add potatoes and continue simmering until lentils are soft and vegetables are cooked.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  

You may serve immediately or continue to simmer for up to 2 hours.  The longer cooking will break down the vegetables and the soup should be almost creamy.  I like to eat mine while the vegetables are still intact. 

Makes 8 servings.
 

 Sauté the onions and celery until just starting to turn colour.  Be careful not to burn the vegetables.

 I used a vegetarian "chicken" bouillon for the broth.

Red lentils are tiny and more orange than red. When cooked they are a golden yellow.  
They cook quickly making them ideal for a fast soup.

Add the carrots, turnip and lentils to the boiling broth.  Wait 10 minutes and then add the potato.

 As you can see, lentils are full of good stuff.  Look at the fibre, protein and iron percentages.

Serve with thick slices of whole wheat bread slathered with butter. . . . 
er, ah. . . . I should say, lightly buttered.  

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