Sunday, January 25, 2009

Butter Soup

Not to be confused with Butter Face.

My mom's been here visiting for the last three weeks (in fact, she just left for the airport, sob), and in an attempt to think of something new to do (three weeks is a long time, and if you can believe it, even pyramids get boring) I signed us up for a Lebanese cooking class.

It was a one-day deal, and the teacher showed us how to make six great dishes. I went into the class under the impression that Lebanese was my favorite of all the Middle Eastern cuisines I had tried, and I left the class positive of this fact. Every recipe was just as good as--if not better than--the last, really easy, and very healthy.

One of my favorites--which I honestly didn't think I'd like, since I'm not a huge fan of lentils--was her Red Lentil Soup. I swear it tasted like it was butter-covered butter with butter filling, but it wasn't just completely butter-free, it didn't have any other fat, either! So I guess another name for it would be Magic Soup.

Red Lentil Soup
by Sahar Melhem

1 cup red lentils
1 tomato, cut in large chunks (seriously, I think she cut it in half and that was it)
1 potato, peeled, cut into large chunks (same)
1 carrot (take a guess--cut in half, and she didn't even peel it)
1/2 c. water
1 tsp. cumin
salt (to taste)
pepper (just a little)

1. Wash the lentils until the water runs clear. Put lentils into saucepan and cover with water (about an inch; it's supposed to be a creamy soup, so don't add a lot unless you want it to be more watery)
2. Put lentils on the stove over medium-high heat
3. Add the vegetables and bring it to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer until everything is very soft (or how we worded it in class "'til mush"), about a half an hour
4. Turn off the heat and let cool slightly
5. Put everything in the blender and blend until smooth
6. Pour through a strainer (she said this isn't necessary if you peeled your carrot)
7. Put back on the stove
8. Add water, cumin, salt, and pepper (she used quite a bit of cumin and salt, but this soup can really take a lot of flavor, if that's what you like)
9. Heat through

Serve with lemon juice squeezed over each bowl (optional; I preferred it without)

A couple of other notes: She said you can add an onion, too, if you like, but make sure it is really small, and just cut it in half, like everything else. Also, after step 6, you can freeze the soup to use later. If you do this, thaw it and then proceed with step 7 (you may need a little extra water).


Holly said...

I'm guessing using red lentils is important to the flavor. I think they are a little more interesting flavor-wise than the regular kind.
(There are about 30 million different kinds of lentils, I've heard.)

Anonymous said...

I love lentil soup, and it's snowing today, which means tomorrow will make for a wonderful soup day!

Wendi said...

Nice picture. That adds a lot to the post. :D