Sophisticated Savories

Sophisticated Savories

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Orange-curry lentil and vegetable soup

The sheer brilliance of soup is creating mouth-watering flavors that are healthy and satisfying. As a young child, my mother would always have a plethora of healthy soups in the refrigerator... curries, vegetables, stews, etc. In fact, we even had a "family song" that was sung to the tune of "Fiddler on the Roof..."

"Tradition... tradition! Veggie soup. Baumert, tradition!"

I know. Shaking my head... #pleasantville

I do attribute one reason why there was so much laughter in my family due to the healthy food that we consumed. I am thankful beyond measure that my mom had a vested interest in cooking, as well as fueling her cherubs and husband with brilliant nourriture.

Soups are an easy manner to introduce your "necessary daily portion" of vegetables into your diet. For example, I made an orange-curry lentil soup this morning. In order to incorporate more vegetables into the soup, I simply blended the mix of broccoli/carrot/cauliflower into my Vitamix, then added to the lentils:

Healthy orange-curry lentil and vegetable soup:

Since orange lentils are much smaller than their brown or green counterparts, they also cook much faster. First, be sure to "sort" the lentils - discarding potential small rocks/wrinkly, old lentil beans. Once sorted, rinse the lentils in a fine-mesh strainer. Only rinse about 1/4 cup of lentils at a time (in order to nudge the lentils around and prevent them from falling over the edge of the strainer). Once cleaned, fill a sauce-pot with enough liquid to equal one and 1/2 times the perfect of lentils. For example: 1/2 cup of lentils would need 3/4 cup of liquid.

Many choose to cook lentils in water - I prefer chicken or veggie stock (it allows them to absorb more flavors in the initial cooking process).

Turn the burner on medium-high and keep an eye on the lentils. Once boiling, turn to a low-simmer and allow to cook for about 20 minutes (covered slightly). After about 20 minutes, test by mashing a few between a spoon and a pot... they should smash easily. Drain in a fine-mesh strainer.

To make an easy soup:
I added 2 cups of cooked orange lentils to my Vitamix, as well as 2 cups of cooked vegetables (medley blend of broccoli, carrots and cauliflower), then blended until no clumps were present. Because the soup was essentially a puree, I added chicken stock until I thinned the consistency to my-liking (I added 2 cups... you may keep it as "thick" as you prefer). Once all ingredients were blended together, I carefully placed the soup back into the sauce-pot and heated on a medium-high heat. In order to flavor the soup, I added 1 Tbsp of curry powder, 2 tsp smokey paprika, 1 tsp liquid smoke, 1 pinch of cayenne pepper and a few squeezes of lemon juice (I did not have to add additional salt, as the chicken stock was salty enough). As a garnish, delicate cilantro flowers transformed the soup from resembling baby-food, to an intricate, restaurant-quality dish.

It's all in the details, friends.

In order to incorporate more protein into my lunch, I simply steamed a few shrimp and added a micro-green/radish garnish... small drizzle of EVOO/Dijon/Lemon juice made a light, healthy dressing.

"Our bodies are our gardens - our wills are our gardeners." - William Shakespeare


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