I am always on the look-out for a good hearty soup recipe , as Ron and I often enjoy just a soup for an evening meal. We love it's simplicity, comfort and many times, we just don't feel like thinking about what to make. A soup is easy, it usually requires no special ingredients, just clean out the fridge's vegetable drawer usually works for me, soup is easy to freeze or to keep in the fridge for a few days.
This soup actually has a story attached to it, I found it in the November issue of the Food and Wine magazine that I subscribe to. I love Indian food, and the magazine had an excellent article about a chef/sommelier Rajat Parr who puts an Indian twist on some of his dishes, the Lentil soup, was one of the lovely dishes highlighted, and the one that I had decided to make . Lentils are something that my family enjoys eating. either as a main meal or an a accompaniment to a meal. The soup turned out to be a huge hit and as I was raving about it to my girlfriend Seeta, telling her about this article and the chef's spin on food, doesn't she say that she knows of this young fellow (Rajat Parr and his family and his success in California) needless to say I am now saving the article for her and enchanted to once again learn how small our world is and how we are all connected.
But back to the soup. This earthy soup is Parr's take on an Indian dal .
BLACK LENTIL SOUP
1 cup lentils (about 6 ounces)
2 cardamom pods
One 1-inch piece of ginger peeled and thinly sliced plus
2T. minced ginger
6 T. unsalted butter
1 diced onion
2 garlic cloves minced
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. garam masala
2 quarts vegetable broth
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
- In a pot, cover the lentils, cardamom and sliced ginger with 1" of water. Bring to a boil and cook over moderately high heat until the lentils start to soften. Approx 10 mins. Drain the lentils and transfer to a bowl, discard the cardamom and ginger.
- Melt 3T of butter in the pot. Add the onion, garlic and minced ginger and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened (8 mins). Reduce the heat to low. Add the coriander, cumin, cayenne and garam masala and cook stirring until fragrant (approx 4 mins).
- Add the stock, tomatoes and lentils and bring to a boil over high heat. Simmer over moderate heat until the lentils are softened and soup has thickened (approx 1 hr). Stir in the remaining 2T of butter and season with salt. Ladle into bowls and serve.
(As a slight variation and because I add carrots to my mothers lentil soup recipe I also add 2 chopped carrots to this version.)