Thursday, January 7, 2010
Two! Two lentil spinach soup recipes
I've been on a lentil soup kick lately. A couple of weeks ago, I carefully crafted a soup with Italian flavors to go with some pesto potatoes. It was delicious, but I never took a picture of it. We were too hungry, I guess.
This morning I was digging around in my vegetable bins for veggies that I needed to use up, and I realized I had what I needed to make soup again. This time, I winged it, using nearly all the contents of the vegetable drawer, plus some of my meager pantry staples. Then I pulled out a recipe for Harira, a Moroccan chickpea soup, and used it as an inspiration for the spices.
I'm not sure which soup I like better.
Italian-spiced Lentil Spinach Soup
I love the way the celery seed and marjoram in the Italian seasoning play off one another in this soup. The sum becomes greater than the parts. If you don't keep Italian seasoning on hand, you can put together your own from marjoram, basil, oregano and thyme. Be generous with the marjoram and basil but careful with the thyme, as it can overwhelm a dish if you use too much.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 fennel bulb, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup red wine (I used cabernet sauvignon)
3/4 cup green lentils
1 can crushed fire-roasted tomatoes
4 cups vegetable broth or water
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1/8 teaspoon celery seeds
3 cups tightly packed fresh spinach, chopped (about 6 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
Heat olive oil in a large pot. Sauté onion, celery, carrot and fennel until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté another minute or two. Add red wine and lentils and simmer until wine is reduced somewhat, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, vegetable broth or water, bayleaf, Italian seasoning, and celery seeds. Cover and simmer soup for about 45 minutes or until lentils are tender. Add spinach and salt. Cook for 5 minutes or until spinach wilts. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Moroccan-spiced Lentil Spinach Soup
I used Smoked paprika and saffron in this, which was a mistake. Saffron is expensive, and the smoky flavor of the paprika dominated. If I make this again, I'll use saffron + sweet paprika, or turmeric (for color, mostly) + smoked paprika. The total of the lentils and split peas was 3/4 cup, as in the recipe above.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 jalapeños, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 6-ounce package fresh baby spinach, chopped
2 roma tomatoes, chopped
1 10-3/4-ounce can Rotel tomatoes with chilies
4 cups water
2 tablespoons split green peas
4 tablespoons green lentils
6 tablespoons red lentils
1 tablespoon paprika, sweet or smoked
1/2 teaspoon saffron or turmeric
1-1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
salt to taste, about 3/4 teaspoon
juice of 1/2 a lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
Heat olive oil in a large pot. Sauté onion, celery, carrot and bell pepper until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add jalapeños and garlic and sauté another minute or two. Stir spinach into vegetables and cook until it wilts, 2 or 3 minutes. Add fresh tomatoes and canned tomatoes with chilies, water, peas and lentils. Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Add paprika, saffron or turmeric, coriander, ginger, cumin, cinnamon, pepper and salts. Cover pot and cook about 40 minutes.
Add lemon juice and cilantro just before serving.