Wednesday, June 28, 2006

a bowl of orange soup and a pinch of salt

With that wonderful fresh vegetable stock the first soup I made was inspired by what was in the cupboards at the end of the shopping week. All things orange seemed like a good idea to warm, yet another, chilly day.

As always, I followed no actual recipe and the quantities are up to you, depending on whether you want a small, medium or large size pot of soup.

Red Lentil Soup

vegetable oil
Cumin seeds
Fresh ginger
Red lentils
Sweet potato
Vegetable stock

Gently fry off the herbs and spices in a little oil (this time it was raw sesame but any light oil will do). Cook the onion til it is transparent then add the dry lentils. I used a cup or so for what ended up as 3/4 of a Le Creuset pot of soup. Throw in the chopped orange vegetables and give it all a stir before adding the stock. As the lentils really soak up the fluid, you need close to 3x the volume of stock to the other ingredients, depending on how thick or thin you like your soup. As this stock was homemeade and unsalted, I waited til just before serving to balance the seasoning*.

Simmer on low for 45-90 minutes. The lentils and sweet potato thicken up the soup, so it becomes a comforting, starchy vehicle for the flavours of the herbs and spices. Remember to stir frequently or you will end up with a crust on the bottom of the pot. Even better sit it on a heat diffuse mat as well.

*Salt is an amazing thing. I find using homemade stocks it is best to patiently sit with your pot of favourite salt and add about 1/2 a tsp a time, then stir and taste. Keep going til you taste the flavours of the soup open up. The trick is to find the spot just before it tastes overtly salty. For a whole treatise on salt check out Helen at Beyond Salmon for her thoughts on the subject.

The soup, of course, was delicious and tasted even better the next day.

PS: Photos returning soon!

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Blogger Helen said...

Hey there Outspoken Female,

I loved your recipe for lentil soup. At first I was a little surprised by such a dish in the summer time, but then I noticed your location and it all made sense :) I'll have to check out your winter recipes. They would be absolutely perfect for Boston right now.


10:32 am  

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