Thursday, October 25, 2012

My Favorite Coconut Red Lentil Soup




I fell in love with this soup probably about a year ago, when I first found the recipe on Heidi Swanson's lovely blog, 101 Cookbooks. She has such a wonderful sensibility about cooking and her dishes just sound so wholesome and delicious. Coconut, curry, ginger, lentils, golden raisins...now that's a party for my mouth. I made it for the first time and happily slurped two huge bowls in one sitting.



Soup is satisfying all year round, but I especially like this soup right now. A little nip in the air and I'm ready to cook up a big batch, put on my fuzzy socks and cozy up on the couch for an episode of Top Chef. 
We had  friends over this weekend and I made a steamy pot with some cornbread. By the end of the night there was none left...and honestly, I was a bit sad to see the bottom of the pot. No leftovers.
So, you know, I had to make it again a few days later. 
Just for me and Jay to savor all week.
This is officially my favorite soup. Heavenly.

I've not changed much from Heidi's original recipe. Just itty bitty bits....I have used coconut oil for butter, added vegetable stock for some of the water, and pureed most of the soup. I just like the creamy texture that way. I double the carrots and use all red lentils, instead of half red lentils and half yellow split peas.
Oh, I have also used regular raisins, when the golden ones weren't handy. Delicious...I love the sweet little plump bites of raisin that burst in your mouth when you eat this.

My advice...make this soon and enjoy a big soul-warming bowl. 

P.S. Thank you Heidi for rockin' my world with this soup.




Coconut Red Lentil Soup 

Serves 8

Adapted from 101 Cookbooks
 
2 cup red split lentils 
4 cups water
4 cups low-salt vegetable broth
2 medium carrots, cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 tablespoons fresh peeled and minced ginger
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 tablespoon coconut oil
8 green onions (scallions), thinly sliced
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup tomato paste
1 14-ounce can coconut milk
2 teaspoons sea salt
 

Rinse the red lentils in a big bowl of water - until they no longer put off murky water - and drain. Place them in an extra-large soup pot, cover with both the water and vegetable broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and add the carrot and 1/2 of the ginger. Simmer for about 20 minutes or until the split peas are soft. While the lentils simmer, occasionally skim off any foam that collects on the surface.

In the meantime, in a small dry skillet or saucepan over medium heat, toast the curry powder until it is quite fragrant. Be careful though, you don't want to burn the curry powder, just toast it. Move the curry powder into a small bowl and set aside. Heat the coconut oil in the same pan over medium heat, add half of the green onions, the remaining ginger, and raisins. Saute for two minutes stirring constantly, then add the tomato paste and saute for another minute or two more. Turn off heat.

Add the toasted curry powder to the tomato paste mixture, mix well, and then add this to the simmering soup along with the salt. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes or so. Turn off heat and remove pot from burner.

Place a blender on the counter and have a dish towel on hand. Ladle or use a liquid measuring cup to add enough of the soup mixture, to fill the blender about 1/3 full. Cover tightly with blender top and place dish towel over the top. Turn blender on low and puree soup, while keeping your hand firmly over towel. Puree for 20-30 seconds or until smooth. Pour mixture into a separate large bowl. Continue to puree soup in small batches, until you have only about 3 cups of the original mixture left in the pot. Add bowl of pureed mixture back to pot and stir to combine. 

Pour the can of coconut milk into a medium bowl. Using a small measuring cup, pour some of the hot soup mixture, slowly, into the coconut milk. Then pour "warmed" coconut milk back into the soup. Stir to blend and re-warm soup if needed.
 
To serve, ladle soup into bowls and sprinkle each with a bit of the remaining green onions.

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