November 6, 2017 by Nicole Collins
I've been waiting on today's recipe for a loooooooooooooooooong time!
About 6 years, to be exact.
So, remember a couple weeks ago I was telling you about one of my employees, Leila? She's the one that inspired this braised beef.
If you do remember, you may also remember I told you she makes this AMAZING Lentil Soup that I've been trying for years to get the recipe out of her.
Well, folks. I finally did it. Kinda...
So, here's what happened. Last week, for the first time in months, I made a recipe for one of my weekly meals that wasn't one of my own. I found this recipe for a Chipotle Lentil Soup that looked and sounded delicious. I had a really busy weekend last weekend, and this was a slow cooker recipe. So, I figured it was the perfect time to let someone else do the thinking for me.
I'm generally pretty good at being able to read a recipe and decide if it'll be any good before I waste my time and money on the ingredients. And this one seemed like a real winner. I liked everything that went in to it, so my hopes were really high.
Well...it was awful. DISGUSTING! No bueno. Yuck!
Usually, when something is going in the slow cooker, the whole house smells like amazingness, and you can't help but be excited about what's happening in there. I should've known the second I walked in to my house and didn't smell happiness that I wasn't going to enjoy what had been stewing in there all day.
But, I held out hope. And when the soup was finished, I tasted it. I wasn't pleased.
This soup made 8 servings, so I figured I could suck it up and get through it. I hate waste. I thought tossing some avocado and sour cream on top would help it out. Somehow, I think it actually made it worse.
I took one bowl of the soup to work for lunch, struggled through eating it, and decided I'd have to cut my losses. I made Leila taste it just to see if I was being dramatic, and she nearly spit it out. As soon as I got home from work on Monday, that soup went right down the garbage disposal.
On Tuesday, we were still talking about that awful lentil soup. So, of course, I started telling her how badly I wished I had some of her lentil soup.
Now, I have been begging her for years...YEARS...to teach me how to make this soup. But, she just really enjoys making it for me so she'd much rather do that than teach me how to do it myself.
While we were talking about her soup, I asked her again to tell me how she does it. She said that she doesn't do anything special and that it just tastes good because someone else makes it for me. And, she's so right! Love is probably the most special ingredient that goes in to a meal, and that's why a meal made for you will always taste better than a meal made for yourself.
But then, I asked her if she'd at least tell me what she puts in it...a question I've asked her as many times as I've asked for the recipe. And, she told me! I was shocked! Maybe she was taking pity on me from my traumatic lentil soup experience.
She very casually told me what she puts in the soup (not how much though), making sure not to make a big deal of the info she was sharing with me. But little did she know, I was hanging on to EVERY single word. I walked straight back in to my office, wrote down what she'd told me, and made a plan for a lentil soup redemption round.
Somehow, I managed to replicate her Lentil Soup. I still can't believe it tastes like hers!
Thankfully, she's made it for me enough times that I knew exactly how I wanted it to taste. So, with a little of this and a little of that, I think I got the measurements just the way she would do it! I'm so happy!
So, you probably want to know what's so great about this soup.
This soup just warms you from the inside out. Cumin is, by far, my favorite spice. And this soup is loaded with cumin and turmeric, which are both known as “warm” spices. They're spicy, but not “my mouth is on fire” spicy. They're more “a snuggle blanket for your belly” spicy. The flavors are so earthy and comforting. And the lentils just soak up all the yummy goodness.
The soup couldn't be any easier. Saute some onions, garlic, and tomato; toss in the lentils, broth, and spices; and let it go. It pretty much takes care of itself as it simmers away.
We take it one step further by blending the soup when its finished, so it becomes smooth and creamy. Lentils are full of protein, so though it may not seem like it, this is actually a really hearty and filling soup. Throw some toasted bread (pita, naan, baguette...they're all great with this) on the side for dipping, and go to town. This is the ultimate comfort food in my opinion.
I still haven't decided yet if I'm going to tell Leila that I figured out her secret recipe. Because, in all honesty, hers will always taste better than mine. And, I want her to keep making it for me! You can't buy love and joy at the grocery store, after all.
Well, I can't wait to go dunk my face in a bowl of this soup tonight. I'll be the one smiling in the corner if you need me.
Enjoy, and let's eat!
Serves: 4 Print
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 ripe tomato, peeled and diced (keep seeds and juices)
1 cup green lentils, rinsed
1 quart (4 cups) chicken stock
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
Heat olive oil in a dutch oven or large heavy bottomed stockpot over medium high heat. Add onions, and saute for about 3-4 minutes until they begin to soften. Add garlic, and saute for 1 minute until fragrant. Add tomato (and its juices), and saute 2-3 more minutes until the tomato becomes melty and saucy.
Add lentils, chicken stock, and spices, and stir everything to combine. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 hour.
Remove soup from heat. Use an immersion blender on low speed to blend the soup until smooth. Alternately, carefully transfer the soup to a blender, give it 5-10 mins to cool down, and blend until smooth. Serve!
*You can use red or brown lentils too, but green lentils are what I can easily find in my grocery store.
*Make sure your tomato is nice and ripe. We want a soft tomato and all of its juices so it melts in to the soup.
*This soup freezes really well. Make a double (or triple!) batch, pour it in a freezer safe container (I like to use leftover Baskin Robbins Icecream containers), and freeze. Just thaw it out in the fridge and reheat when you're ready!