An Open Cookbook

An Open Cookbook

11.26.2010

Lentil Carrot Soup

For a really cold night, what a better dish to make than soup.  I have been branching out lately, by using ingredients I already have at home.  So tonight, I pulled the following ingredients out of my freezer: cooked lentils, chicken broth, vegetable broth, a few tablespoons of pureed tomatoes, and frozen broccoli.  I actually ended up not using the broccoli in the soup, but I will eat it tomorrow in an omelet with some leftover squash. 

I pulled out carrots from my fridge next.  From the spice rack, I used dried parsley, za'atar, dried thyme, salt and pepper and garlic.  Za'atar is a spice blend that occasionally appears in recipes that I have looked through.  It is a Middle Eastern blend of herbs, usually including thyme, oregano, marjarom, mixed with toasted sesame seeds and salt, sometimes dried lemon peel and other herbs.   There is green za'atar and red za'atar.  Sumac makes the red one red.  I had green za'atar on hand, so that is what is in this recipe.


A few notes on this recipe.  This was developed by using 100% of ingredients in my kitchen, so you have a lot of leeway here!  If you have anything like a potato, sweet potato, zucchini or squash...these would work really well instead of or in addition to the carrots.  Any of your favorite spices would work.  I added the butter for a little extra flavoring because there wasn't any fat in the recipe.  You could also stir in sour cream or plain yogurt after taking off heat, for a creamy soup.  Topping the soup with a drizzle of lemon juice or vinegar gives it a mouth watering tang.

Lentil Carrot Soup
Makes about 4-6 servings

2 cups cooked lentils
1/3 lb. fresh carrots
5 cups broth (any mixture of veg, chicken, turkey)
3 Tbsp pureed tomatoes
1 Tbsp za'atar
2 Tbsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp butter
1 extra cup water if needed
Top with lemon juice or vinegar

In a large pot or Dutch oven, bring broth to a boil and add carrots.  Let them cook for about 10 minutes, or until they can easily break in half with a fork.  Add the pureed tomatoes, and boil for a few minutes.  Transfer to a bowl and allow to partially cool.  Puree in food processor or blender until smooth.  Transfer back to same pot or Dutch oven.  Stir in lentils and all the spices, garlic, salt and pepper.  Bring to a simmer and cook, covered for 10-15 minutes.  Add the butter and stir until fully integrated.  Taste, and adjust seasonings if needed.  If the soup has gotten too thick, add the extra water until desired consistency.  Stir in vinegar or lemon juice at last minute.  Serve with warmed bread or biscuits on a cold night.

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