Monday, January 11, 2010

Lentil soup

It's been a really cold winter here, at least by Houston standards, so we've been making a lot of soup. This is a simple but delicious soup I got out of the Zuni Cafe Cookbook by Judy Rogers. You want to use the small black or dark green lentils. They might be called French, dePuy, or Beluga lentils at the store. I don't think the texture of the regular brown ones would be ideal. I've changed it a little, but not much.

Lentil soup
The cumin seeds are key here, and I sometimes add some extra or 1/4 tsp ground cumin to boost the cuminy-ness.

3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/4 tsp whole cumin seeds
Black pepper
1/4 cup diced celery
1/4 cup sliced carrots
1/4 cup diced onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 bay leaf
1 cup lentils
1 quart vegetable broth

Warm the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the red peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are getting brownish and smell great. Add the cumin seeds and a generous grinding of black pepper and stir to combine. Add the celery, carrots, onion, and garlic and cook until onion is translucent. Stir in the bay leaf, lentils, and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil and then lower heat to a simmer. Cover and cook until lentils are tender, 15-25 minutes depending on your preferences.