Saturday, January 31, 2009

Moroccan Lentil Soup

I got an immersion blender for Christmas so I'm always excited when recipes like this come my way and I find a new excuse to use it! It's quickly becoming one of my favourite kitchen gadgets!

I loved all the flavours in this soup - it was almost a little smoky. It's full of great low-fat protein from all the beans and lentils and the veggies and spices add all their own health benefits.

This is a really easy, low-maintenance dinner. Other than all the chopping and the occasional stir, this stuff cooks itself! Great for rainy weekends (because we have so many of those in San Diego!)
I wouldn't really suggest this for a weeknight dinner because it has to simmer for so long. You could make it one night and let it simmer while you cook/eat something else. Store it in the fridge and then re-heat it the next day. That would make it suitable for a busy weeknight since all the work is done! Just pair it with a crisp green salad and some crusty bread (or toast if you always seem to forget to pick up crusty bread for soup nights!)

This will make a lot - I'd say 6-8 servings

1 cup dried lentils
2/3 cup dried chickpeas (aka: garbanzo beans) or 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2/3 cup dried navy beans (or other white beans) or 1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped carrots
4 medium-sized fresh tomatoes, chopped (include the seeds) or 1 (28-oz) can diced tomatoes (include the juice)
2 cups vegetable broth
2 cups white wine
1 1/2 tsp. garam masala (I make my own - see the note below)
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1/2-1 cup button mushrooms, sliced (however many you like)
Freshly squeezed lemon juice (couple tablespoons)

Link Method:
1. First things first, you'll need to soak the beans if you're using dried ones. There is a quick-soak method that I got from the Moosewood Low-Fat Favorites Cookbook down below in the "My Changes" section. Otherwise, soak the beans overnight. Once soaked, just drain them and give them a quick rinse before adding them to the rest of the ingredients.

2a. If you have a crockpot, you can dump everything except the lemon juice in and set it on low to cook for 8-10 hours. Something about leaving something with heat on all day while I'm at work scares me so I refuse to buy a crock pot! Besides, I think of them as tools for roasting chickens and it's not like I'll be doing that anytime soon. ;) Hmmm... I will admit, I miss a good roasted chicken... not enough to go back to eating meat, though.

2b. If you don't have a crockpot, dump everything except the lemon juice in a Dutch oven and cook it on the stove-top. Bring the mixture to a boil and then turn down to very low heat and let it all simmer for 3-4 hours. Stir occasionally.

3. Once it's done simmering, stir in the lemon juice. I let mine sit on the hot burner (turned off) for a couple minutes after adding the juice.

4. Just before you serve the soup, use an immersion blender to blend it all up. If you prefer, you can pour the soup in a regular blender or food processor and pulse. Probably best to do it a little at a time if you go that route. Oh, and be sure to put a towel over the top so you don't scald yourself with hot soup steam. Ouch!

This was posted a while back by one of the ladies on the Nest cooking board (thank you!) There are a couple other sources for it, though. This one from the blog A Year of CrockPotting and this version from AllRecipes (cited on the Year of CrockPotting blog).

My Changes:
I made a few!
First, I'm not the proud owner of a crock pot so I just made this on the stove in my Le Creuset.
Ingredient changes:
*I used dried beans instead of canned. I just quick-soaked them by bringing the dried beans to a boil and then letting them sit in the hot water (off the heat) for one hour. They'll cook the rest of the way while the soup simmers.
*I used fresh tomatoes instead of canned.
*Rather than using all veggie broth, I halved the amount and then used white wine to make up the total amount.
*I added some mushrooms and lemon juice, just because. :)
*I'd really like to try this with a dollop of Greek yogurt next time. Of course, that will make it non-vegan...
*I make my own form of garam masala by mixing the following together:
4 tbsp. cumin (or coriander seeds if you happen to have those)
1 tbsp. curry powder (or cumin seeds)
1 tbsp. freshly-ground black pepper
1 1/2 tbsp. dried ginger
3/4 tsp. cloves or allspice
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. crushed bay leaves
3/4 tsp. cardamom
I modified this recipe to get the garam masala version that I use. It makes a ton but you can store it in an air-tight container.


Joelen said...

This looks delicious! I'm on the hunt for more bean recipes and I'm starting to incorporate more lentils in our diet so this is a great recipe for me to try soon!

Holler said...

This sounds lovely! Just my kind of soup and beautifully warming on a cold day like this, with some bread to dunk in :)

Anonymous said...

This sounds yummy, but it's definitely not an authentic Moroccan recipe because we don't use graham masala in our cooking!! But that's not going to stop me from trying it, I love all lentil soups!