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Showing posts with label Lentils. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lentils. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Creamy Pumpkin and Red Lentil Soup

For day 23 of Soup Month 2013, we made an incredibly seasonal Red Lentil and Pumpkin Soup that would be perfect for an elegant Thanksgiving meal.  With a delicate blend of unique spices, this soup will pair nicely with roast turkey or pork and would also be delicious with a glazed ham.

I love anything pumpkin, and lentils are quickly becoming a new favorite of mine.  But by combining these two foods, you create a totally luxurious soup with somewhat of an exotic flavor.  The cinnamon and pumpkin go together nicely, of course, but then you get just a hint of cumin and red pepper flavor in the background, while the heartiness of the lentils pulls all of those flavors together.

Another great thing about this soup is that by using the red lentils, which cook much faster than the green variety, you can have this soup ready to serve in about 30 minutes.  If you are serving this for a dinner party, the soup can be prepared an hour or so in advance, then kept warm in a crock pot until you are ready to serve.  Garnish with a spoonful of crème fraiche or sour cream and Enjoy!!

2 tsp  Canola Oil
1 small  Onion, chopped
1 tsp  Minced Garlic
4-2/3 cups  Vegetable Broth, divided
1 cup  Dried Red Lentils
1 tsp  Cumin
1/4 tsp  Paprika
1/4 tsp  Kosher Salt
1/4 tsp  Cinnamon
1/8 tsp  Cayenne Pepper
1 cup  Canned Pumpkin
1/2 tsp  Ground Ginger
1 TB  Lemon Juice
Crème Fraiche for Garnish

In a medium soup pot, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 4 minutes.  Add 3 cups of the vegetable broth, the lentils, cumin, paprika, salt, cinnamon and cayenne to the pot and bring the mixture to a boil.

Cover and reduce the heat to a simmer for 10 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.  Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until it's very smooth.

Add the remaining 1-2/3 cups of broth to the pot, followed by the pumpkin, and cook for 5 minutes over medium heat.

Add the ginger and lemon juice to the soup and stir.  Ladle the soup into bowls and top with a dollop of crème fraiche and a sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley.  Enjoy!!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Chicken, Lentil and Barley Soup

Today is day 16 of Soup Month 2013 and we are over half way through this month of soups and stews.  To continue on, we have a hearty bowl of soup that delivers lots of protein and healthy fiber.  I love simple vegetable soup and this Chicken, Lentil and Barley Soup just delicious.  Packed with lots of complex carbs and healthy veggies and it's so easy to make, you can have it on the table, ready to eat in just about an hour.  It also makes great leftovers.

One benefit of cooking with red lentils is the shorter cooking time.  When cooking with green lentils you are looking at about 45 - 60 minutes of cooking time, and the lentils will still have a firm texture, even after this much cooking time. Red lentils, however, will cook down to a mushy-type consistency in about 20 - 30 minutes.  And mushy is a good thing in this case.  If you have kids that are just a little picky (or a lot picky, in some cases), adding a handful of red lentils to a stew or soup will thicken the stock as the lentils dissolve and add lots of protein and fiber, without the kids asking what those "little things" are in their soup. (Yes, my picky eater always asks this question...sigh.  But she did like this soup.) 

If you prefer a vegetarian soup, just substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth and leave out the chicken.  Enjoy!!

1/2 cup  Red lentils
1 small  Onion, chopped
1/2  Red or Orange Sweet Pepper, chopped
2 tsp  Minced Garlic
2 TB  Butter
5 cups  Chicken Broth  (or vegetable broth)
1/2 tsp  Dried Basil
1/4 tsp  Dried Oregano
1 tsp  Fresh Rosemary
1/2 tsp  Ground Black Pepper
2 tsp  Kosher Salt
2 cups  Chopped Pre-Cooked Chicken or Turkey
2 or 3  Carrots, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup  Quick Cooking Barley, uncooked
14-1/2 oz can  Diced Tomatoes

In a medium soup pot, melt the butter and sauté the onions, peppers, and garlic until just softened.

Add the chicken broth, basil, oregano, rosemary, pepper, and salt to the pot and stir.  Rinse and drain the lentils and add them to the pot and bring the mixture to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer, covered for 15 minutes.

Add the chicken, carrots and barley to the pot, stir and cover the pot and simmer for 10 minutes, then add the tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes longer or until the carrots are tender.  Makes 6 servings.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Basil-Dijon Salmon on Red Lentil Puree

Two of my top favorite ingredients to cook with are basil and salmon, so this recipe was especially fun to put together.  This recipe also uses the Basil Cubes from my previous post, but you could also use fresh basil and a bit of olive oil, in place of the cubes.

The inspiration for this dish came from a jar of coarse ground Dijon mustard from Trader Joe's.  The mustard was filled with so many little mustard seeds, just bursting with flavor, I wanted to use them in a special way. 

During the same shopping trip I found a bag of red lentils, which I had never used before.  Lentils are commonly used in Indian foods, and have a very unique, slightly nutty flavor.  They are also used to thicken soups, which I can't wait to try, but since this type of lentil tends to cook down quickly, I wanted to create a puree with them.  A creamy puree, infused with basil. (As a bonus, lentils are packed with fiber, magnesium, iron, B-vitamins and protein, so these little gems are something I'm looking forward to cooking with a lot more.)

So for this dish we combined both ideas.  The salmon was quickly seared in a hot skillet, flipped over and coated with a fragrant basil, Dijon and garlic sauce, and served atop the red lentil puree.  The flavors of the salmon, basil and lentils came together beautifully, with the basil highlighting the whole dish.  This is a really unique combination, and we loved the results.  Enjoy!!

2 tsp  Olive Oil
1/2 cup  Red Lentils
1-1/4 cups  Chicken Stock or Water
Pinch of Kosher Salt
1 small Basil Cube  (or 1 TB chopped fresh basil plus 1 tsp olive oil)

In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the lentils and stir to coat, then add the broth or water and the salt to the pan.  Cover the pan with a tight lid, reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 12 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. 

**Note: If you like a completely smooth puree, you could blend the lentils at this point using a stick blender, but I liked the added texture of the lentils so we skipped the blender this time.

Add the basil cube (or fresh basil) to the lentils and stir until blended.  Set aside and allow the lentils to thicken until you are ready to prepare the plates.

4 - 6 oz  Salmon Portions, skin on, rinsed and patted dry
2 tsp  Olive Oil

Basil-Dijon Marinade
Basil Cube  (or substitute 2 TB chopped fresh basil)
2 TB  Olive Oil
2 tsp  Lemon Juice
1-1/2 tsp  Coarse Ground Dijon Mustard
1 tsp  Dijon Mustard
1 tsp  Minced Garlic

Place the basil cube in a small glass bowl and microwave for just a few seconds to defrost.  Add the olive oil, lemon juice, both mustards and garlic to the bowl and stir to combine.  Set aside.

In a large skillet, heat 2 teaspoons olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering.  Add the salmon to the pan, skin side up and cook for 3 - 4 minutes or until slightly browned.  Turn the salmon over and divide the marinade evenly between the portions, smoothing the mixture to the edges of the salmon.

Cover the pan and cook for about 5 - 8 minutes, depending on the thickness of the salmon fillets.  When the salmon is cooked through, remove the salmon from the skillet and place on a cutting board.  Using a long knife, slide the knife between the salmon and the skin, and remove the skin from each piece of salmon.

Spoon a portion of the red lentil puree into the center of each plate, place a salmon fillet on top of the puree and serve.