Thursday, October 25, 2007

Spiced Red lentil soup w/crispy onion garnish

2Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2tsp ground cumin
175g red lentils
1 bay leaf
1tsp dried oregano
2 tsp ground turmeric
2tbsp tomato puree
1 liter hot stock or water
salt, black pepper
Juice of 1/2 lemon

For the Crispy Onions:
2tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
1 tsp ground coriander
4tbsp roughly chopped fresh coriander, or flat leaf parsley

4tbsp thick yogurt to serve

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring until softened, about 5 min. Stir in the garlic and cumin and cook until the onions smell really garlicky and spicy, about 2 min. Then tip in the lentils, bay, oregano, turmeric, and tomato puree, give it all a good stir, and pour in the hot stock or water. Bring to a boil and simmer steadily, stirring every now and then for about 40 min, until the lentils have collapsed to a thick, smoothish puree. Thin with water if necessary, and add salt and pepper to taste.

While the soup is cooking, make the crispy onions. Heat the oil in a non stick pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until thoroughly wilted and browned, about 15 min. Stir in the garlic and coriander, and cook for about 5 more min, to crisp the garlic, and toast the coriander.

Just before serving, stir the lemon juice into the hot soup. Serve with a dollop of yogurt, then sprinkle with herbs and crispy spiced onion.

This dish was gorgeous!

I was looking for a way to use up some red lentils that I had laying around, and I found this in Favourite Recipes Books For Cooks. This book is so good, I’ve not had a bad recipe from it yet.

The soup it’s self was beautifully flavored, similar to the Mulligatawny soup that we used to get at Indian restaurants in New York (it’s not really the same when you get it in London, it’s also harder to find). The texture was very comforting, and the crispy onion garnish really put it over the top.

When I first started cooking I never used to make the garnish on dishes like this, I was under the impression that it was just for show, but the flavor and texture of the herbed darkened onions are very definitely more then just pretty.

I whole heartedly recommend this recipe, even if you don’t have the lentils laying around.

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