Sunday, November 27, 2011

Eat: Kale and Lentil Soup

A few weeks ago, my friend Mary sent me a recipe for kale and lentil soup. She said she was surprised at how much she liked it and encouraged me to give it a whirl. I figured if someone enjoyed a dish enough to email me the recipe, it was probably worth my time. I figured correctly. The combination of spices gives this soup a smokey, savory flavor which can be heightened by adding merguez, a spiced North African sausage. Detailed below are multiple ways to modify this recipe to suit your tastes. I stayed fairly consistent with the original recipe from Feast , only substituting a pinch of Cajun spice blend and cayenne pepper in place of paprika.

This recipe also held the appeal of a new ingredient to try: kale. I had never even eaten kale before, much less cooked with it. Kale is a form of cabbage available at most grocers. It has full curly leaves and can be either purple or deep green in color. Kale is a great source of several different vitamins and minerals. It even contains sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol, chemicals that have strong anti-cancer properties. You have probably encountered kale far more than you realize since it is also used to garnish just about every buffet in existence.

TIME: 1 hour and fifteen minutes
YIELDS: 6-8 servings

2 tablespoons of oil
1 onion, chopped
6 cloves of garlic, minced
3-5 celery stalks, chopped
4 carrots, sliced
1 cup of lentils
5 cups of broth
½ teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of Cajun spice blend
dash of cayenne pepper
1 bunch of kale, chopped
1 tablespoon of red curry
salt and pepper, to taste

Once all of your ingredients are prepared (get ready for lots of chopping!), heat the oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add the onion and cook a few minutes or until translucent.

Next add the garlic, celery, and carrots. Cook an additional minute or two.

Add the lentils, broth, cumin, Cajun spice blend, cayenne pepper, kale, and curry. Stir, cover, and and cook on medium/low heat for twenty minutes.

After twenty minutes, stir the soup and season it with salt and pepper. Cook for an additional fifteen to twenty minutes, until the soup begins to thicken and the lentils are tender. If adding meat, do so during this second session of cooking.

Tip: you will likely need to add some extra water to keep the soup from getting too thick. ½-1 cup should suffice. Also, be careful not to overcook the lentils as they may begin to disintegrate.

Serve garnished with reserved celery leaves or curried yogurt (if desired, see below).


Add ½ lb of chopped merguez or ham (Mary’s suggestion) to the soup near the end of cooking time.

Top with curried yogurt – ¼ cup of plain yogurt mixed with red curry, to taste.

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