Lentil soup is one of those things that can go horribly wrong. It doesn’t have to.
Unappetizing, grey, watery, and tasteless is the verdict most often hurled at lentil soup. This is a shame because with just a few extra steps, lentil soup can be a bowl of pure magic.
Choose your lentils carefully:
Bad lentil soup often begins with bad lentils. Instead of the larger tough and rubbery green lentils, try the smaller and tastier black or red lentils. My top choice for a winning lentil soup is always red “football” lentils, which are happily readily available in Moscow at most supermarkets.
I’ve developed this recipe over a few years after being very inspired by fellow food blogger Sarah Melamed from the mouthwatering blog Food Bridge. The success of Sarah’s red lentil soup recipe is not only a great balance of flavor, but attention to the aesthetics of the soup. She rightly points out that when red lentils cook, they lose their brilliant orange hue and become sludgy beige. Carrots, red peppers, tomatoes, and tomato paste do stellar work in re-introducing vibrant orange back into the mix.
Puree Half of the Lentil Soup:
Lentil soup to my mind should never be watery, but nor should it be a smooth puree. There needs to be a balance and a bite. This is achieved by the use of tomato paste, which helps to bind the ingredients together and by pureeing half of the soup and combining it with the remainder.
Many lentil eaters are committed vegetarians. This soup can easily be made vegetarian by substituting vegetable stock for chicken stock, though if you are a meat eater, using homemade chicken stock gives Red Lentil Soup a great flavor layer that adds to its success.
If you are a curry fan, by all means, introduce that spice into the mix by the addition of two tablespoons of curry powder with the dried lentils.
Red Lentil Soup
Are you a lentil fan? What’s your favorite dish? Have you endured watery lentil soup?
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