Lentil Soup

Seriously… I have made lentil soup a million times.  I have eaten a ton of lentil soup.  And, I like many varieties.  But, ONE time, many years ago, I just went into the kitchen and started throwing things in the pot. It ended up being the best lentil soup I’d ever made.  I think this may have been the experiment that inspired me to record my great kitchen mistakes!

This soup is hearty and super filling.  It balances the savory with a bit of sweet, but without making this a truly sweet soup.  Between the spices and the coconut, there is an unusual but delicious set of flavors–almost like lentil soup meets great squash soup, but somehow the squash is turnip!  There is a good amount of chew.

Thank you, Christina, for finding this for me!!

Image courtesy of dan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of dan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Lentil Soup

Quantity:  this is for a very large pot, maybe 8 large portions, 10 regular

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium turnips, cubed
  • 1 ½ vegetable bullion cubes
  • olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 1 T curry powder
  • 1 T turmeric powder
  • ½ T allspice
  • 1 t nutmeg
  • 2 medium, semi-sweet apples (yellow/green), sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
  • 3 c whole lentils, green or French are my favs (about 1 lb)
  • ½ c shredded coconut
  • 1 ¼ c split red lentils
  • sea salt
  • ground white and/or black pepper
  • fresh baby spinach, optional

Instructions:

  1. Begin with approximately 6 cups of water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and add bullion and turnips.
  2. While the turnips cook, in a small saucepan begin with cold olive oil and sauté onion until transparent.
  3. Add curry, turmeric, allspice, nutmeg, white pepper, apple, and garlic, and continue to sauté until onion begins to caramelize and apple becomes very soft.
  4. When turnip is soft, scoop turnip out and reserve the broth as it is the base of the soup. Add the whole lentils to the broth and begin to boil the lentils.
  5. Add turnips, apple/onion mixture, coconut and a ladle of the broth to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth (about the texture of mashed potatoes).
  6. When whole lentils are about ½ cooked, add the split lentils and the processed mixture.
  7. Add any additional quantities of the spices and sea salt, adjusting to your taste.
  8. Cook until whole lentils are tender.

Hint: To serve, place fresh spinach in a bowl and ladle hot soup over the spinach. The soup will cook the spinach gently, and keep it from becoming mushy.

Review: Vegetable Cleavers by America’s Test Kitchen

If you’ve been watching this blog, you know I LOVE America’s Test Kitchen.  They are my go-to for equipment and grocery store food reviews.  Well… this is the newest thing I’ve been thinking about.

Fall is upon us (yay!), and an array of gorgeous gourds will be available soon.  I always struggle with cutting through acorn and butternut squashes.  What to do?  Well, how about the right tool:  a vegetable cleaver?

The winner: MAC 6 1/2" Japanese Style Vegetable Cleaver. Image courtesy of MAC.

The winner: MAC 6 1/2″ Japanese Style Vegetable Cleaver which retails for up to $105. Image courtesy of MAC.

From America’s Test Kitchen (and check out the site to watch the review video!  Totally worth it!!):

Overview:

What the heck is a vegetable cleaver? Rectangular vegetable cleavers, which are traditional in Asia, have a straighter edge that, unlike curving Western-style knives, stays in contact with food as you cut and chop, ostensibly streamlining vegetable prep. Unlike meat cleavers, which have thick, heavy blades and a blunter edge for hacking through bone, vegetable cleavers have thin blades that taper gently to a honed edge, for cleanly slicing vegetables and other, more delicate boneless foods.

There are two basic types of vegetable cleaver. Chinese-style vegetable cleavers (also known as Chinese chef’s knives) look like meat cleavers but are more slender and versatile: besides chopping vegetables and fruits, they’re also used for slicing boneless meats and mincing and crushing aromatics, and they can serve as a broad surface for scooping and transferring chopped food from cutting board to bowl or pan. Japanese-style vegetable cleavers (available either as double-bevel nakiri or single-bevel usuba) are shorter, resemble a squared-off santoku, and are primarily used for cutting vegetables. (According to experts in the field, santoku knives likely evolved from vegetable cleavers.)

We chose seven knives—three Chinese cleavers, three nakiri, and one usuba, priced from $30 to $190—and used them to dice onions, mince parsley, slice potatoes, and quarter butternut squash. Most sliced beautifully. Taller, heavier Chinese cleavers were easier to guide through large vegetables, and we found that their heft did most of the work. But they were too unwieldy for some testers, who preferred smaller, lighter Japanese blades.

Read the rest of the article and see the video, here.