Monday, February 21, 2011

Red Lentil, Tomato, and Coconut Soup

Dishes that can be made entirely from things you almost always have on hand are the best. Extra points if they cook up quickly enough to be a weeknight meal and require little supervision. In this case, they're the perfect meal to make when I'm not feeling well and staying upright is not entirely pleasant (and why when I have a headache won't the basement pump shut off? It's not like it's warm enough here today for there to be water melting into the basement!). I made a couple of changes to this recipe. I used a mirepoix (1/4 cup each of chopped carrot, celery, and onion) because I had some pre-frozen and didn't feel up to chopping an onion. Second, I doubled all of the spices and used whole canned tomatoes instead of chopped because I have a weird thing against canned chopped tomatoes. Finally, I used the whole can of coconut milk rather than leaving an extra 100mL to taunt me later.

One year ago: Cauliflower, Chickpeas, and Tomato Couscous

Red Lentil, Tomato, and Coconut Soup (adapted from Greedy Gourmet, originally Melissa Messenger's Family Cookbook)

25g (1 oz) butter
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped (or 1/4 cup each chopped carrot, onion, and celery)
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp ground cumin
400g (14 oz) canned tomatoes
175g (6 oz) red lentils
2 tsp lemon juice
2 cups vegetable stock
1 400ml can coconut milk
salt and freshly ground pepper
naan bread, to serve (I cheated and used flour tortillas)

1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan or dutch oven and add onion (and carrot and celery if using). Cook until onion is translucent.
2. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.
3. Add all the spices. Cook for a further 30 seconds.
4. Stir in tomatoes, red lentils, lemon juice, vegetable stock, and coconut milk and bring to the boil.
5. Simmer for 30 minutes until lentils are tender, adding extra hot water if necessary.
6. Season to taste (I added a splash of red wine vinegar here just for fun). If desired, blend to a smooth consistency using an immersion blender.
7. Serve with bread, naan, or tortillas.

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