Monday, March 12, 2012

Red Lentil Soup with Cilantro Oil

This soup is smiling, and you will smile too, after you taste it!

1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1" hunk of ginger, peeled and mined or grated
1 1/2 pounds of butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes (optional)
3 large tomatoes, diced
3 large carrots, chopped
8-10 cups of veggie stock (or 1/2 water)
2 bay leaves
1 tsp cumin (more or less according to spice level)
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp curry powder (more or less according to spice level)
3 cups red lentils, picked over and rinsed
1-2 tsp lemon juice (optional but waay recommended)

1/2 cup cilantro
1/4-1/2 cup flavorless canola oil

In a large dutch oven or stock pot, heat 1 Tbsp evoo over medium heat.  Add in onions, squash, carrots, garlic, and ginger.  Saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add in stock, bay leaves, spices and lentils.  Season with salt and pepper.  Bring soup to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.  Simmer until lentils are tender, roughly 30-45 minutes.  You can blend the soup at this point, or continue to simmer to allow the flavors to deepen.  If you choose to simmer longer, you may need to add more stock/water to avoid over thickening the soup.

To blend the soup, you can use either an immersion blender or a regular high powered blender.  For the immersion blender, simply put blender in the soup and puree until smooth.  If you are going to use a free standing blender, make sure you blend in batches so the hot soup doesn't explode.  Return soup to pot and heat through before serving.

To make the cilantro oil, simply blend cilantro and oil in a high powered blender, until fully incorporated.  Drizzle over the soup along with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

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