Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Soups

These are two of my favorites, and we have them frequently.

The lentil soup is amalgam of two different recipes. One, from Cook's Illustrated, was difficult, time-consuming, and expensive, involving bacon, white wine, several steps and a lot of watching. All that was well and good when it was just Dave and me, or even after we had Ethan, but now? I don't feel like standing over a stove for an hour to make a soup. My favorite soups require far less attention. And then I found a second recipe in Cooking Light. It was very similar, but left out the bacon and the wine and didn't require as much hands-on time. It's still not as simple as some other soups I make, but it's not over the top, and it's VERY worth it (the spices make it so). I double the recipe and freeze what's left. It freezes beautifully.

LENTIL SOUP

2 TB olive oil
2 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrot
1/2 tsp dried thyme (or you can just throw in a large sprig when you add the liquids, and take it out before you puree)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
1 tsp each of cinnamon, coriander, and cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 1/2 cups dried petite green lentils (I just use regular brown ones from the store)
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes, drained
2 TB lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp fresh ground pepper

Heat oil in large saucepan over med-hi heat. Add onion and next 5 ingredients (through bay leaf) to pan; saute 12 minutes (I do this on a much lower heat - I don't have good luck with my onions burning - med hi is way to high for me, but then I turn it up when I add the lentils). Add the next 4 spices at the last two minutes or so of this step.

Add lentils, cook 2 minutes stirring constantly.

Stir in broth, water, and tomatoes; bring to boil.

Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 40 minutes until lentils are very tender.

Remove from heat, discard bay leaf (and thyme sprig, if using).

Whir it with an immersion blender just to thicken it a little - not too much. Or, transfer three cups of soup to a blender, remove center piece of lid, cover lid lightly with a dish towel, and puree until smooth. Add back to pot.

Add lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Stir well.

Neither recipe calls for this, but we LOVE this soup over brown rice.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*

The roasted red pepper soup is from Cook's Country, and we make it frequently. I have never roasted a pepper in my life. Thank goodness they come in jars, pre-roasted. I double this one too, but it doesn't usually leave us enough to freeze, since Dave takes it to work and Dylan and I have it for lunch too. This soup is super easy, and absolutely delicious.

2 TB unsalted butter
4 cloves garlic, slivered
1 medium onion, chopped
salt
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups jarred roasted red bell peppers, drained and rinsed
1/2 tsp hot red pepper flakes
5 sprigs fresh thyme
3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
3/4 cup heavy cream
Ground black pepper

1. Heat butter in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just melted. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Add onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until beginning to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add flour and stir constantly until flour is lightly toasted, about 45 seconds. Add red peppers, pepper flakes, thyme sprigs, broth, and water and bring to boil. Reduce heat, partially cover, and simmer until peppers are soft, about 20 minutes.

2. Remove and discard thyme sprigs. Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth and creamy (Or use the immersion blender. Hooray for immersion blenders!!). Return soup to clean pot over low heat, stir in cream, and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Serve hot.

We float croutons on top. Soooo good!!

Enjoy!

1 comment:

Jamie said...

You always post the best recipes!