Friday, November 14, 2008
Lentil Soup and Rat Bones
How do we know? Well, there are a number of contributing factors. The air has a pleasant chill to it. The heat's on. And the farmer's market is filled with Brassicas, root vegetables, and winter squash. And that means we're moving beyond the namby-pamby brothy soups that can sometimes sneak their way into our late summer repertoire.
This weekend, we thought it might be nice to use up some of this lovely red kale -- along with some carrots, a couple of onions, and a few cloves of garlic. So, let's start there. I also happened to have purchased some of my favorite little legumes -- the adorable red lentils -- primarily because I was having a craving for red lentil soup. These pretty little guys are much misunderstood. They don't hold their color when cooked. And, rather than holding their shape, they tend to cook up into a mass of lentil-ISH-ness, which some people don't like. But, Peef and I both love a nice red lentil soup/stew/pulse, so we set out to cook them up.
"Ew," Peef winced as he was rinsing the lentils.
Since he sounded pretty grossed out, I spun around from my work sauteeing the onions and carrots, and gave him my full attention.
"It's a rat bone!" he shouted, holding something up between his fingers.
Ever the skeptic, I pulled his fingers closer to my face and took a long, hard look at the piece of debris he was holding in his hand. Sure enough, it was a strangely shaped, slightly hollow looking piece of ... something that looked like bone. Ew. I began to get a little grossed out.
Well, I should have known better, because the funky little smirk that began to appear on Peef's face belied the fact that he was completely throwing me a line.
"Of COURSE it's not a rat bone," he said, as if it wasn't entirely possible that an unsuspecting rat climbed into my bag of lentils and decided to die there.
"It's a stick.""A stick, yeah," I said, "Of course. A stick."
Feeling a little bit silly, I decided to take a picture. You can decide for yourself whether or not it looks like something that belongs in a bag of lentils or not.
In the meantime, let's take a look at the final product.
This is stick-to-your-ribs red lentil soup. A little bit chunky. Nice and thick (though not quite thick enough to stand a spoon up in). Perfumed by the scents of cumin, coriander, garlic, and turmeric. This is the sort of soup that is perfect when served alongside some na'an or other flatbread for dunking. Don't forget a little bit of lemon juice to brighten up all the flavors.
So, heck, make some of your own :)
Red Lentil Soup with Kale
The leftovers made a great side over rice with a bit of throw-together saag paneer.
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