Blended lentil soup w/ caramelized stock

by AdamB

I love the immersion blender — how dumb do I feel for all the times I made a hot mess moving  soup to a food processor?   Like many blended soups, this one takes well to many garnishes — see below.   The picture has chili sesame oil, pepitas and parsley.  Or a poached egg and bulgar make an incredibly hearty meal.

I happened to have a jar of le Puy lentils, which keep their shape when cooked — green or brown lentils are your only choice for a salad.   But any lentils work in soup — red or yellow fall apart very easily and make a nice color to boot.

I often pack this soup for lunch.  Drop a handful of dry bulgar in the night before or in the morning, with a little extra broth or water — voila, a super hearty and complete meal.

Serves 4

ingredients

soup

1.5 cups dry lentils (any kind), rinsed

5 cups water or vegetable broth (homemade or with bouillon — if using bouillon, use much less salt elsewhere)

4 carrots, peeled and sliced in thin coins

4 stalks celery or fennel, sliced in thin coins

1 large yellow onion, peeled and sliced thinly

1T cumin

1T curry

salt and pepper

olive oil

white wine vinegar (I like Trader Joe’s white balsamic)

optional garnishes

* Sesame chili oil + pepitas + parsley

* Greek yoghurt + chopped chives + smoked paprika

* Miso (dissolve in hot water first) + Sriracha + sesame oil

* A poached egg + prepared bulgar  + za’atar

prep

Set water or broth to boil with lentils in a large soup pot.   When it hits a rolling boil, turn flame to medium and cover about halfway.  Cook for at least a half hour, stirring occasionally, until lentils are tender.  Boil extra water in a tea kettle in case you need to thin soup.

While lentils are cooking, warm cast iron skillet on low flame.   Add onions, carrots and celery or fennel.  Do not add oil yet — just spread vegetables evenly and cover.  Let cook for about 15 minutes, stirring only once or twice. You want the vegetables brown but not burnt.  Now raise flame to medium, and add oil, salt, pepper and seasonings.  Cook another 10 minutes, stirring once or twice. Finally, add a few dashes of vinegar and turn flame back to low.

After about five minutes, dump vegetables into soup pot and puree using immersion blender.  Now raise flame to rolling boil, then return to medium.  Cook about another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding hot water to thin if needed.  Adjust seasonings to taste and serve with choice of garnishes.

optional garnishes

* sesame chili oil + pepitas + parsley

* Greek yoghurt + chopped chives + smoked paprika

* miso (dissolve in hot water first) + Sriracha + sesame oil

* a poached egg + prepared bulgar (awesome for brunch)!

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