No Croutons Required – Citrus Lentil Soup
For the monthly event from Lisa’s Kitchen, No Croutons Required, participants are asked to serve a soup (or salad) which is vegetarian and should feature this month’s ingredient. In June, it is legumes.
The theme for June is soups or salads featuring legumes because beans and pulses are an important part of a healthy vegetarian diet. Whole, or split, big or small, anything belonging to the legume family qualifies. Submissions are due no later than June 20th.
A good excuse to try a recipe which has been sitting in my Cook-Soon folder way too long:
Citrus Lentil Soup
The recipe is slightly adapted from a recipe printed in O – The Oprah Magazine in February 2004.
Citrus Curry Lentil Soup
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, diced into 1/4-inch pieces
2 carrots, peeled and diced into 1/4-inch pieces
2 celery stalks, diced into 1/4-inch pieces
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin seeds
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 lemon, juiced
2 large limes, juiced
1 grapefruit, juiced
1 bay leaf
8 cups vegetable stock, approx.
1 cup lentils, rinsed and picked through
½ cup chopped cilantro
freshly ground pepper
agave syrup or honey, see below
orange slices, paper thin, for garnish
In a 5-quart Dutch oven or soup pot, heat olive oil over a medium flame. Add onions, carrots, and celery. Cook until tender and slightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, curry, cumin, and coriander; stir 30 seconds. Add lemon, lime, and grapefruit juices; bay leaf; stock; and lentils. Raise heat to high, bring to a boil, and reduce heat to medium-low, allowing lentils to simmer. Continue simmering 45 to 55 minutes, until lentils are tender.
Remove bay leaf, add cilantro, and season to taste with salt and pepper. (Depending on stock used, soup may need up to one tablespoon salt.)
I wasn’t sure about cooking lentils in an acidic environment (citrus juices), but it turned out nicely. The original recipe asked for a dollop of yogurt or sour cream to be added to each soup bowl before serving, but I skipped this. Instead, I chose a teaspoon of agave syrup per serving, because the taste wasn’t balanced – with the agave syrup it was perfect.
The Citrus Lentil Soup is a refreshing twist on an all-time classic, and I was surprised how well the grapefruit and lime went wih the lentils. The only thing bothering me is… I use healthy tangy fresh citrus fruit–and all the vitamins get boiled away completely.
I think next time I might try to use less juice before cooking the lentils, and then add a splash of fresh juice when serving.