Happy New Year! I'm looking forward to trying new recipes and feeding my family in 2016. We started out the year with this nurturing spicy soup. Eating lentils on New Year's Day is a tradition thought to bring good luck in the new year in several cultures. You can adjust the spiciness to your liking so don't be scared off! And, definitely don't skip the lemon and cilantro at the end. It's delicious!
Red Lentil Soup with Lemon (makes about 6 cups)
from NYT Cooking
3 T olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T tomato paste
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. kosher salt, more to taste
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
pinch of ground chile powder or ground cayenne, more to taste
1 quart chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 cup red lentils
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
juice of 1/2 lemon, more to taste
3 T chopped fresh cilantro
In a large pot, heat 3 T oil over high heat until hot and shimmering. Add onion and garlic and salute until golden, 4 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, cumin, salt, black pepper, and chili powder or cayenne (I used a bit of both) and saute for 2 minutes longer.
Add broth, water, lentils, and carrot and bring to a boil. Give it a good stir, cover the pot, and reduce to a simmer for about 30 minutes. Test and see if the carrot and lentils are soft. When they are, taste and adjust the salt and cayenne pepper (I like it spicy!).
Using a traditional blender or an immersion blender, blend about half of the soup so that it's slightly chunky still. If you like it smooth, you can blend all of it. Reheat soup if necessary then stir in the lemon juice and cilantro. Serve soup drizzled with a little olive oil.