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Soup's On: Coconut Red Lentil Soup

La Petite Maison Verte: Soup's On: Coconut Red Lentil Soup

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Soup's On: Coconut Red Lentil Soup

Despite living in Florida where we've been enjoying daytime temperatures in the 60's (and 70's lately!) in January, I still find myself craving hearty soup for dinner this time of the year.  Maybe it's because many of the bloggers I follow live in colder areas of the country and I see them cooking up huge vats of piping hot soups and filling stews, photographing the snowy landscape outside their kitchen windows.

Soup, while very filling, tends to be on the healthier side of things as well.  I love to pair a big bowl of soup with a large salad, some bread and a glass of wine.  It's a delicious, filling and well-balanced meal that leaves me feeling satisfied without the guilt of a comfort-food splurge.

This recipe was exactly what I was looking for.  Sweet raisins, carrots and coconut milk make this soup feel truly indulgent.  Curry spices and fresh ginger bring warmth without adding any tongue-singing heat.  Split peas and lentils form the base of the soup, providing fiber and protein and are an excellent vegetarian source of folate and iron (not to mention they are absolutely delicious).

We ate the soup with a big green salad, some leftover cuban bread I had in the freezer (toasted and buttered - a little of the real thing goes a long way!) and a glass of Zinfandel from The Biltmore Winery, a bottle we picked up on our visit to Asheville last summer. Alternately, bulk-up this soup by serving it on top of a scoop of cooked brown rice, farro or barley.  Ideally, I would have served this soup with homemade 100% whole wheat bread but I had the cuban bread in the freezer and I'm not one to waste a tasty loaf of bread!

As for my substitutions and changes to the recipe:  Use yellow split peas if you can find them, I was unable to after looking at 4 different grocery stores so I just went with green split peas.  While I think the color of the soup would be a little prettier if with the yellow peas, we found the flavor was excellent with green peas so I didn't mind the muddled orange color it turned out.

I quickly pureed the soup after cooking with my (new) immersion blender, but left it partly-chunky.  You could go either way:  leave the soup chunky or it all the way smooth using a blender or immersion blender, it's just a matter of personal taste.

Adding a dollop of greek yogurt to the finished soup for serving was an addition of mine but we found it really enhanced the creaminess and overall experience.  It's optional but I recommend it!  A garnish of chopped cilantro would also be a delicious complement to the curry spices in the soup, but we were out.

Coconut Red Lentil Soup
serves 6
recipe adapted from 101 Cookbooks

1 cup green (or yellow) split peas
1 cup red lentils
7 cups water
1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice
2 tablespoons fresh peeled and minced ginger
2 tablespoons curry powder
2 tablespoons butter
4 green onions, thinly chopped cross-wise
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup tomato paste
1 14-ounce can coconut milk
2 teaspoons fine sea salt

chopped cilantro, additional chopped green onions and 2% greek yogurt for serving (optional)

Rinse lentils and split peas well and place into a large soup pot.  Cover with the water and bring to a boil.    Reduce heat to a simmer, add the carrot and 1/2 tablespoon of the ginger.  Cover pot with the lid and simmer 30 minutes, or until the split peas are just soft.

Meanwhile, in a small dry saucepan over low heat, toast the curry powder until fragrant, being very careful not to burn it.  Transfer the toasted curry powder into a bowl and set aside, wipe out the inside of the sauce pan with a dry towel and return the pan to the stove over medium heat.  Melt butter to the (now empty) saucepan and add the four chopped green onions, the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of ginger and the raisins.  Saute for 2 minutes, stirring frequently, then add the tomato paste and saute another 2-3 minutes stirring frequently.  Turn off the heat and stir the toasted curry powder into the tomato paste mixture, mixing well to combine.

Add the tomato paste-curry powder mixture to the simmering soup along with the coconut milk and the salt.  Simmer, uncovered, another 20 minutes or more.  The texture will thicken as the soup cooks so allow to cook for longer if you prefer thicker soup, or alternately add additional water to thin it out.  Optional:  puree soup using an immersion blender until desired consistency.

To serve:  ladle soup into bowls and top with a dollop of greek yogurt and a sprinkle of the remaining green onions and some chopped cilantro, if desired.

Question of the Day

What comfort foods do you crave during the winter time?  Do you find that your tastes and cravings change with the seasons?

I love soups and stews when the weather turns colder.  Oddly enough though, I love chili year 'round!  Root vegetables and starchy vegetables look so much more appealing when the fresh greens of summer are gone.  When the weather warms up I crave fresh berries and lots and lots of green leafy veggies.  My dinners turn lighter too - more fish and greens, less potatoes and roots.      

Changing the subject:  Tonight Brian and I are headed to our favorite restaurant in Tampa, The Refinery, for a 5-course Swamp Head Beer Dinner.  It was a Christmas gift to Brian from my sister Heidi and brother in law, Rob.  Soo excited and can't wait to share some highlights with you guys tomorrow!

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At January 19, 2012 at 7:47 AM , Anonymous m071092 said...

This soup was sooo delicious! Rich, hearty, filling and with a touch of sweetness, the curry added great flavor without overpowering the lentils. A triumph!


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