This is one of those “recipes” that really isn’t. Kitchen Express doesn’t give you a list of ingredients–it gives you a paragraph description of what to do–a happening. I don’t always have red lentils, so I’ve made this with De Puy lentils; it simply takes a little longer to cook. This is the “light, bright” lentil soup that I make in warm or hot weather.
The soup below started as the Red Lentil Soup (pages 283-284) in Always Hungry? However, true to form for me, it evolved–still keeping the spirit of the meal plan. So here’s my version of a seemed to be rather a bland lentil soup when previewed on the page. It evolved on a dreary, rainy, chilly day in May that felt more like regression to March. It’s only mildly spicy and garlicky–you could increase the chipotle powder or add a dash of cayenne.
Serves 4 with big bowls, or 6 with small bowls. Add some meat (lamb would be good) and it’s a meal in a bowl.
Smoky, Spicy Red Lentil Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (for cooking)
- Chopped onion–about 1 to 1-1/2 cups
- 2 medium carrots, diced
- 2 ribs celery, diced
- one 14-ounce can of diced tomatoes [fire-roasted are really good in this.]
- 32 ounces chicken stock
- 1 cup red lentils
- 2 or 3 large cloves of garlic minced or pressed (or more according to taste)
- 1-1/2 teaspoons of herbs de Provence
- 1 to 1-1/2 tablespoons of pimentón (smoked Spanish paprika)
- 1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (hot)
- salt and black pepper to taste
- one 8-ounce package of frozen chopped kale
- extra virgin olive oil for drizzling as a tasty garnish
- Heat the cooking olive oil in a good-sized pan and sauté the onions until beginning to brown.
- Add the carrots and celery and sauté until starting to brown.
- Add the pimentón, chipotle chilli powder, red pepper flakes, and garlic; sauté until fragrant.
- Add the chicken stock, tomatoes, and 2 cups water.
- Add the herbes de Provence
- Bring to a simmer and cook until the lentils are almost tender. [I moved it to the oven to finish cooking so I could work without worrying about checking it.]
- Stir in the chopped kale and continue cooking until the lentils are tender.
- Serve it up and drizzle with a bit of aromatic extra-virgin olive oil.