This is the first post in the ‘Stir-Friday!’ series. First of all, Stir-Friday is a reference to the FX TV show Archer. If you haven’t seen it, you probably should. It’s really funny. Also, the first three seasons are on Netflix. Anyway, contrary to what you might think, these posts will not be all about stir-fry. They will, however, be about cooking. I love cooking. There is something deeply satisfying about preparing a delicious meal, and then eating it up. Cooking also makes me a happier person, and I think that a lot of other people could up their happiness levels by learning to cook, but that’s a topic for another post.
In this series, I’ll be sharing delicious recipes with you. For the most part they won’t be really complicated, but I guess it will sort of depend on the mood I’m in when I write them. Without further ado, the first installment:
Red Lentil Soup
This recipe is really awesome. It’s super delicious. It’s really healthy. It’s also very cheap to make. What’s not to love? If you have never eaten lentils before, you are in for a treat. Although a very common food globally, lentils don’t get that much love here in ‘Merica. Some of you may be thinking, “What the eff is a lentil?” Glad you asked. Lentils are a legume. Again, “What the eff?” Just think beans. It’s like a bean. Except that it’s very small. Here’s a good little article singing the praises of lentils. Basically, they are packed with iron, protein, and fiber, but are low in fat and calories. Also, they contain all nine essential amino acids. Not to mention they are really tasty. I get mine from a local open-air market, but you should be able to find them anywhere that sells dry beans.
You should be familiar with all the other ingredients, so in the rest of the post I’m basically just going to give you the recipe and lay out a bunch of pictures. Don’t be intimidated by the number of ingredients. It’s really easy to make. Also, DO NOT skip toasting the spices. Seriously.
Red Lentil Soup (makes about four 1 and 1/2 cup servings)
- 1 italian sausage or bratwurst [optional]*
- 1 cup red lentils
- 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 1 serrano pepper, thinly sliced [or jalapeno]**
- 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced [to taste, roughly 1/2 Tbsp after minced]
- 1 can diced tomatoes, with juice
- 5 cups water
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp curry powder [or turmeric]
- 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp kosher salt [or to taste, use less if using regular table salt]
If using a sausage, heat a little oil in a medium/large pot. Brown the sausage on both sides.
[If not using sausage, just start here] Put lentils, onion, serrano, garlic, ginger, tomatoes (with juice), and water in the pot.
Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cook for 15-20 minutes, until lentils are tender. Whisk soup to thicken it a little, and even the consistency, then turn off heat, but leave pot on burner.
In a small pan/skillet, heat the 1 Tbsp oil over medium heat. When it’s hot add the cumin, garlic, paprika, and curry.
Stir the spices into oil, and cook for 1-2 minutes, until spices are toasted and fragrant. Pour seasoned oil into soup (be careful, it will sizzle). Add vinegar and stir to combine. If using the sausage, take sausage out of pot and cut into small chunks, then put back in pot. I like to puncture the sausage over the pot to let the juices run into the soup, rather than all over my cutting board. Salt to taste.
Recipe adapted from an Aarti Sequeira recipe on the foodnetwork.com.
This recipe is dairy-free and grain-free.
*If you leave out the sausage, this recipe is vegan, so that’s nice.
**If you are sensitive to spicy food, you should leave out the serrano. But if you are OK with some spice, you should definitely leave it in, or just half it. The end result is not overly spicy, but it does have some spice. Just use your best judgement.
Did you make the soup? How did you like it?