One woman's foray into cooking for herself, for her family, and for her friends. It's not always picture-perfect, sometimes a little messy,
but it's always delicious. Join me in exploring new recipes, savoring the "résultats" and learning from the "erreurs".

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Orange Lentil Soup with Croutons

Another chilly football-watching day. The playoffs are here and my team is doing well! While watching potential adversaries should my team make it all the way to the Super Bowl, I decided I wanted soup. Not a dainty little soup. Something more substantial without being heavy. Sounds like a tall order, right? Well a little research on rendered an orange lentil soup that sounded simple, hearty, and not heavy - all at the same time!

The aroma of this soup simmering on the stove had a very 'comfy' quality to it. I couldn't get over how easy this recipe was. It smelled good, but could such a simple recipe give me the depth of flavor I was hoping for? Yes!! The lentils have a flavor all their own, but the cumin really enriched that flavor. And to extend the richness of flavor, I sprinkled some Turkish Seasoning (a mixture of salt, garlic, cumin, Tellicherry black pepper, Turkish oregano, paprika, sumac, cayenne, and cilantro) that I picked up at Penzey's to season the croutons made per the recipe. Boy, were those good!!  The perfect accompaniment to this wonderful soup!

Orange Lentil Soup

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for the croutons
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 cups orange lentils, picked clean and rinsed
6 cups low-sodium canned chicken or beef broth
3 slices whole-wheat or white bread, crusts removed
sprinkling of Penzey's Turkish Seasoning (optional)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the lentils and stir to coat them in the oil. Add the stock and bring it to a boil. Then reduce the heat to medium, cover the pot, and cook, removing any foam that rises to the surface, until the lentils are soft, about 45 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and set it aside to cool for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the over to 400°F.

Brush olive oil over both sides of the bread slices, and cut them into small cubes. Place the cubes in a single layer in a baking dish, and toast in the oven until golden and crisp, about 7 minutes. Set the croutons aside.

Transfer the lentils, with their liquid, to a blender, in batches if necessary, and puree. Return the soup to the pot. (Alternatively puree the lentils right in the pot with an immersion blender.) Add the cumin, salt, and pepper and give the soup a good stir. Bring it to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

Ladle the soup into bowls, and sprinkle a few croutons on top of each serving.

Yield:  6 to 8 servings



Fresh Local and Best said...

It's my New Year's resolution to incorporate more grains and legumes into my diet. I've never cooked with orange lentils, I'm very curious though! This soup looks great and indeed comfy!

Linda said...

This looks wonderful...great for a cold winter night!

La Table De Nana said...

The lentil photo is perfect:)

Karine said...

Your soup sounds perfect for the cold, cold weather! Thanks for sharing :)

Thibeault's Table said...

I agree with Monique, your lentil photo is perfect. Very creative.

Kathleen said...

Oh this looks lovely!

Ry @ Sotto Il Monte Vineyards said...

Perfect comfort food for this crazy arctic weather!

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