Friday, November 14, 2008

Lentil Soup and Rat Bones

It's the beginning of soup season at our house.

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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  1. A stick in your lentils! Haha. The soup look great, I love a big bowl when it's cold outside.

  2. I like hearty soups, Sometimes when you eat a broth based soup you just don't feel like you've eaten much, but this looks so good and thick!!

  3. I love the final color, it's beautiful. Yep, looks like a rat bone.

  4. i've never seen red kale!!! i'd love to try some... the hunt begins!!!

  5. That is too funny! My husband is a huge jokester, I can see him trying to pull something like that! ;)

    I am a huge fan of red lentils too! They are delish!

  6. I love lentils too, and since I cannot use wheat flour I have often used red lentils as a healthy alternative to thicken soups.
    And this looks like a really tasty version of the same thing...aside from the stick/rat bone.

  7. lol, yes I can agree with you that it could be a rat bone too. but there would be other stuff in there besides ONE bone. there would be a funky smell, maybe another bone, some rat hair. lol ok I'm getting way ahead here, you get the idea.

  8. I absolutely love red kale... nice pic there. That rat bone bit was great... I think we've all been grossed out by some unexpected surprises before. Thank goodness a stick is a stick :)

  9. Cute story but I think I'll try the soup without the rat's bones. :)

  10. Just the idea of a rat bone grosses me out....

  11. I think lentils are my favorite legume too. I really like your soup.

    (And I was really terrified that there might be actual rat bones invovled.)

  12. Hearthy and perfect for cold weather. While others enjoy drinking hot chocolate near the fireplace I'd be happier with a bowl of your lentil soup :)

  13. Rat bones or not, this looks delicious. I love the colors, rich and hearty (hardy). And you know, the marrow might add some nutritional value to the stew.
    Aaah, we'll miss you. Hopefully Peep will keep us entertained while you're busy working on your research project. Good luck with it.


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