I wrote about this soup two years ago when I first found the recipe in the New York Times. Since then, I’ve made it many times, making a few tweaks here and there. It’s definitely remained a favorite – in fact, it’s one of two soups that I constantly go back to. You know, the ones I know I can really nail.
That’s why I decided to take this soup to The Hideout’s Soup & Bread night this week. If I was going to be manning a Crock-Pot next to other food bloggers and even some professional chefs, I didn’t want to mess around with something untested. But then I picked up a copy of the Soup & Bread cookbook and read some of the recipes from last year. There were all kinds of interesting broths and dumplings and garnishes. And the lineup of soups this week was equally impressive. My little red lentil soup started to seem a little … pedestrian.
I decided a garnish was in order. Lately, I’ve been pureeing this soup completely, so a little something crunchy would add some nice texture. Emily’s recipe for Dukkah at The Kitchn seemed intriguing and I loved that you can really adapt it to fit a specific dish or use whatever you have in the pantry.
The mixture I chose echoed some of the flavors in the soup itself – cumin, smoked paprika and lemon – and added a nice crunch with hazelnuts, pistachios, coriander and sesame seed. It’s incredibly easy to whip up and can make something so simple – like red lentil soup – a little more sophisticated. But most importantly, it’s really, really tasty.
Smoky Red Lentil Soup
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, roughly chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 quart vegetable stock
- 1 cup red lentils
- 2-3 carrots, peeled and diced
- juice of 1 lemon
In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and saute until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Mix in garlic and cook for another 2 minute.
Add tomato paste, cumin, salt, pepper and paprika. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add stock, lentils and carrots. Increase heat and bring to a boil. Once it’s bubbling, reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. Once lentils are cooked through and carrots are fork-tender, remove from heat. Using an immersion blender, puree soup completely. Stir in lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
Serve topped with a spoonful of dukkah, if desired.
(Adapted from the New York Times)
- 1 1/2 cups hazelnuts
- 1 1/2 cups pistachios
- 1/2 cup sesame seeds
- 1/2 cup coriander seeds
- 1/4 cup cumin seeds
- zest of 4 lemons
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Toast all nuts and seeds in separate batches. Reserve 1/2 cup hazelnuts and 1/2 cup pistachios. Combine remaining ingredients in food processor and pulse until finely ground. Pour into a bowl. Add the reserved nuts to the food processor and pulse until just roughly chopped. Mix into the finely ground mixture by hand.
(Adapted from The Kitchn)