Last night my friend Janelle requested a soup recipe so that she could have something hearty to eat during her long hospital shiftwork this week. I’m not envious of nurses for many reasons, particularly because they have to handle needles, catheters and are exposed to dangerously high levels of Jello. My poor stomach couldn’t handle the ever-changing meal schedule, week to week, of rotating shift workers. Even with the time change of one hour a few weeks ago, my stomach was left gurgling in confused exasperation for much too long.
During my cleanse a few weeks ago I made this delicious lentil soup twice within a matter of days. Lentil soup is one of my favourites – I love its consistency, colour and wonderful earthy flavours. I also feel very self-righteous when eating something as nutritionally rich as lentils. This is a spicier version of a basic lentil recipe, which gives a slight tingle to the esophagus on the way down. Not in a reach-for-the-pepto-bismal kind of way, but rather like the sensation of eating chicken tandoori; the subtle heat has an addictive quality and the curry powder nicely complements the lentils. You may want to double the batch to be safe, as it will go quickly.
2 cloves garlic
1/2 inch long piece of ginger, peeled
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into large pieces
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/2 medium onion, chopped roughly
3 tbsp butter, unsalted
2 tsp curry powder
1 cup canned lentils, rinsed (I use brown lentils, as they are a good soup thickener) – you can also cook dried lentils if you prefer
4 cups chicken broth
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. In a food processor, pulse the ginger and garlic until chopped small. Then add the celery, carrot and onion until coarse – about 5 seconds.
2. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the chopped vegetables and saute for 4 minutes, until soft. Next add the curry powder and continue stirring for 1 minute. Add the lentils, broth, salt and pepper. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and let simmer for 25 minutes.
3. This last step is optional, though it helps make the soup of a thicker consistency. Transfer 1 1/2 cups of the soup to the food processor and puree until smooth (about 20 seconds). Transfer mixture back to rest of soup and stir. Serve warm.