Resolutions, Cold Snaps & New Pots
January 2, 2008
This lentil-tomato soup recipe might have been a more apt January 1 recipe (a little more resolution-worthy than sticky buns, right?). But, as far as I was concerned, it was still the holiday yesterday and holidays deserve special foods, not salads (indeed, Salad Wednesday is making a repeat appearance tonight, as promised) and gyms (mine was so packed this morning I had to fight for machines and bob-and-weave my way to my locker).
But now the holidays are officially over. Sniff. And, mother nature seems to have neatly replaced the holiday season with a wicked cold snap here in Chicago. The thermometer isn’t climbing above the single digits and it actually hurts to breathe outside. Clearly, this situation calls for soup. And this soup, despite its rich smoky flavor and velvety luxe texture, won’t derail even the most rigorous health-related resolutions.
And, for me, this soup gave me another excuse to use my favorite kitchen-related Christmas present: the gorgeous Le Creuset dutch oven pictured above. In the week since Christmas, I’ve used it four times. That’s right, four times. I haven’t even found a home for it in our cupboards yet, because it’s been so frequently in use. And it’s just so pretty that it might take up permanent residence on the stove.
So whether you’ve got a resolution to uphold, a cold snap to weather or a new pot to break in, this is the recipe for you.
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 1/3 cups water
2 1/3 cups dried lentils
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 (14 1/2-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
Chopped fresh tomatoes (optional)*
Cilantro sprig (optional)*
Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion; sauté for 3 minutes or until tender. Add the turmeric and the next 6 ingredients (turmeric through garlic); sauté for 1 minute. Add water and next 4 ingredients (water through diced tomatoes); bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 1 hour.
Reserve 2 cups lentil mixture. Place half of remaining mixture in blender; process until smooth. Pour pureed soup into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with other half of remaining mixture. Stir in reserved 2 cups lentil mixture. Garnish with chopped tomatoes and a cilantro sprig, if desired.
* In addition to chopped cherry tomatoes and cilantro, I also like to top this soup with a dallop of Fage Greek yogurt.