A snow storm makes for a difficult departure! Last weekend, we flew down to Texas for a much anticipated wedding weekend. It was the first time most of our studio got together since graduation and it was so fun to see everyone. We had a lot of trouble getting out of Seattle, and basically had to fly out a day early or miss the entire trip. Eventually, we arrived in Houston and went immediately to Mai’s for a late dinner/midnight snack. Just like old studio nights! The wedding took place in San Antonio on Saturday and I am sad to say that I did not get to take any photos because I forgot to pack my camera during our packing frenzy. The wedding and reception were lovely, heartfelt affairs and we are all so happy for the bride and groom!
Before I knew it, it was Sunday and we were back in the cold, breezy Northwest. The snow turned in rain over the weekend, saturating the soil and making certain tasks like digging for potatoes difficult and muddy. When I come home from working at the farm, a soup like this is usually what I want for dinner. This lentil soup comes together quickly, is packed with protein and veggies, and is faintly exotic with flavors of coconut milk and chile peppers. I purchase Aleppo pepper at my local Penzeys and have really been enjoying the fruity, moderately spicy heat from these Turkish peppers. I imagine that you could also make this in a slow cooker. Leftovers keep well and make for a tasty lunch the next day.
**When I first posted, I forgot to link to this article by Slow Food USA president Josh Viertel, discussing the farmer and the eater. Thoughts?
Red Lentil Soup with Coconut and Aleppo Pepper
inspired from Serious Eats
2 tbsp olive oil
3 leeks, rinsed very well and sliced
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
3 carrots, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp ginger, grated on a microplane
1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed if you want, and finely chopped
1 tsp EACH ground cumin and ground coriander. I actually used about 1 1/2 tsp Ras el Hanout, a Moroccan spice blend.
2 bay leaves
1 3/4 cup red lentils, rinsed and picked over
water or vegetable stock
about 1/2 can of coconut milk. I used light coconut milk, but full fat coconut milk should also be fine.
1 15 oz can crushed tomatoes. I used a fire roasted variety.
juice from 1 large lime
finely chopped cilantro to taste
Aleppo pepper and unsweetened shredded coconut to garnish
Heat the oil over medium high heat in your soup pot. When hot, add the leeks, onion, celery, and carrot and cook until soft. Add the jalapeno, garlic, ginger, and spices and season generously with salt and pepper. Cook until fragrant. Add the rinsed red lentils to the pot and cover with water or vegetable stock. After you add enough liquid to cover the lentils and vegetables, add the bay leaves, coconut milk and crushed tomatoes. Bring to a boil and turn down to a simmer. Check every now and then to make sure there is enough liquid and stir. When the lentils are tender (about 20 minutes), check the seasoning. Usually I have to add more salt. Turn the heat off and stir in all of lime juice and cilantro. Ladle into bowls and garnish generously with Aleppo pepper and coconut.