If there was a photography contest for "Food Photo Most Resembling The Surface of a Distant Planet" - surely this one would win. It's a picture of the lentil soup I made a couple of weeks ago, just after all of the ingredients were added to the pot. The purply color is from the dark lentils - strange, isn't it?
Not to fear though, after simmering, it looked like this:
The recipe is adapted from the Gourmet cookbook's recipe for Curried Lentil Soup with Tomato and Spinach. I set out to make the recipe in the book - but it turned out the ginger I bought was spoiled, and I couldn't find my curry powder, so instead I seasoned the soup with some dried oregano and fresh thyme I had on hand.
What I had in mind was the lentil soup from the Athens Market. What I made wasn't quite as good, but it was pretty close. I always think soups are better when they sit for a little while, so we froze some, ate some the next night for dinner, and packed the rest with us to eat in front of the fire at our favorite little Julian getaway - Big Cat Cabin. It was just the thing for a chilly winter night.
Greek Lentil Soup
adapted from the Gourmet Cookbook
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup roughly chopped carrot
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 cup lentils (I used the small dark ones)
2 1/2 cups organic chicken or vegetable broth
2 1/2 cups water
1 cup chopped drained canned tomatoes
salt and pepper
Cook the onion in oil over medium low heat until lightly browned. Add garlic and carrot cook for one minute. Add seasonings and cook, stirring, for thirty seconds. Add lentils, stock, tomatoes and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until lentils are tender, about 30 minutes for green lentils, 45 minutes for black caviar lentils.
Season to taste with salt and pepper and the lemon juice.
To make the curried lentil soup, add 2 tsp finely grated ginger to the garlic, and season with one tablespoon of curry powder and one teaspoon of ground cumin, instead of the oregano, bay leaf and thyme. Add the tomatoes at the end of the cooking, and 2 cups of coarsely chopped spinach, and cook until the spinach wilts. I bet this would be good served with a dollop of plain yogurt and chopped cilantro!