Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Last Night's Dinner: Red Lentil Soup

Even though I have a big jar of brown lentils in my pantry, I couldn't resist the red lentils at Citarella's, part of their new display of packaged grains and pulses. I am a sucker for things in matching bags! Yes, one pound of red lentils cost $4.99 while a bag of brown lentils at the IGA is half the price. Still, I rationalized, red lentil soup wouldn't be quite so brown (a complaint often heard around my table) as the soup I usually make. I was pleased with my soup, flavored wtih cumin and ginger and a can of lite coconut milk, but I'm still deciding whether or not the color (reddish-brown) was worth $2.50. Here is the recipe:

Red Lentil and Coconut Milk Soup
Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
One 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon paprika
16 ounces red lentils
6 cups water
One 12-ounce can lite coconut milk
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 lime cut into wedges

1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, jalapeno, cumin, coriander, and paprika and cook another minute.
2. Add lentils, water, and coconut milk and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until lentils are soft, 30 to 45 minutes.
3. Puree 2 cups soup in a blender and return to pot. Stir in cilantro and season with salt. Ladle into bowls and serve with lime wedges on the side.

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