Well, goodness gracious. Where does the time go? It's already day six of our fabulous week of soups. Have you enjoyed meeting some of my friends? I hope so. They're all pretty awesome folks, and I've been meaning to introduce you for some time. Today, I have for you a very special (and comfortably familiar) treat: a recipe by our very own Ms. Kylie "Thin Crust." Kylie's been busting out uncannily incredible soups for as long as I can remember. It's almost as though she's a soup-whisperer. I'm on to you, Kylie. Today, she's brought us a colorful and unusual number to brighten up the dreariest of February afternoons.
What’s the name of your soup?
Red Lentil Soup with Lime
Were you inspired by someone else’s recipe? If so, which one?
This recipe is straight out of Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. This cookbook is one of Adriana's mom's favorites, and Adriana gave it to me for my birthday back in my senior year of college. Since then, it's become my vegetable bible, the place I go anytime I have a bunch of ingredients but can't figure out how to combine them into a dish. Deborah always helps me out.
When was the first, or most memorable, time you ate this soup?
Can I be honest here? The first time I made this soup was a couple weeks ago, because I was trying to save on groceries for the week and happened to have a whole lot of lentils in the cupboard. But I'll be making it again. It's really special, especially with the addition of the lime.
Does this soup have a story?
I think this soup will always hold a special place in my heart, because I thought my fiancee, Mary, was going to hate it. But she didn't! She loved it! You see, since I've known her, Mary has sworn that she doesn't like hot liquids. Hot chocolate? Don't get it near her. Chicken noodle? Not a chance. However, about a month ago, she tasted a kale lentil soup that I had ordered at our favorite restaurant, and she couldn't get enough. I resolved to start making more soups then and there, because I love them but almost never used to make them because didn't want to eat them alone. When Mary tasted this soup and liked it, I was shocked. It's a puree of lentils that's really heavy on the turmeric and punctuated with silky bites of sauteed spinach and onion. I'm glad I tried making it, because it's always fun to find out that someone likes a dish you thought they'd hate.
Should this soup be eaten with alongside anything in particular? Or at a certain time of day? Or in a certain kind of weather?
Hm. Well, I think this is an awesome soup to take to work for lunch. Usually when I eat soup, I want bread to dip in it, but this has rice in it, which I think provides plenty of grainy texture. It would probably be really delicious if you dipped naan or a fluffy pita in it, though.
2 cups split red lentils, picked over and rinsed several times
1 scant Tb. turmeric
4 Tb. butter
1 large onion, finely diced (about 2 cups)
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp. mustard seeds or 1 tsp. ground mustard
1 bunch chopped cilantro, about 1 cup
Juice of 3 limes or to taste
1 large bunch spinach leaves, chopped into small pieces
1 cup cooked rice (I used brown basmati)
4 to 6 Tbs. yogurt
Put the lentils in a soup pot with 2 1/2 quarts water, the turmeric, 1 tablespoon of the butter, and 1 tablespoon salt. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, covered, until the lentils are soft and falling apart, about 20 minutes. Puree if you feel like it for a smoother soup (that's what I did).
While the soup is cooking, prepare the onion flavoring: In a medium skillet over low heat, cook the onion in 2 tablespoons of the remaining butter with the cumin and mustard, stirring occasionally. When soft, about the time the lentils are cooked or after 15 minutes, add the cilantro and cook for a minute more. Add the onion mixture to the soup, then add the juice of 2 limes. Taste, then add more if needed to bring up the flavors. The soup should be a tad sour.
Just before serving, add the last tablespoon of butter to a wide skillet. When foamy, add the spinach, sprinkle with salt, and cook just long enough to wilt. If the rice is warm, place a spoonful in each bowl. If it's leftover rice, add it to the soup and let it heat through for a minute. Serve the soup, divide the spinach among the bowls, and swirl in a spoonful of yogurt.