Happy first day of Spring {and more soup for you}

written by Gina Weathersby
iphoneography and styling ©Gina Weathersby/kiwi street studios

I have been under the weather for a few days, and all I’ve wanted is soup.
This morning, while my usual perusing of favorite food blogs, I came upon a new one, the traveler’s lunchbox,
which I loved and spent more than just a little time going through the site.
I found this recipe there, an interesting take on lentil soup. I have yet to meet a lentil soup I didn’t like and this looked wonderfully rich.
I happened to have all the ingredients already, so no having to get dressed to go to the market.
Clearly, this soup was meant for me.
It was yummy. Really yummy. Ask ilene, she had two bowls.

Green Lentil Soup with Coconut Milk and Warm Spices
(post is from Melissa’s original)

“Okay, I don’t make this soup exactly as written, but pretty close. My main change involves the ironing out of a few procedural wrinkles. Rather than frying things twice (first onions and garlic, later spices) as called for in the original recipe, I make this according to the Indian technique of cooking the lentils until soft, then frying all the aromatics and stirring them into the soup towards the end. It not only saves time, it allows you to get away with half the butter or oil (which I usually make up for by dumping in the entire can of coconut milk), and it really makes the flavors sing. I also add some fresh greens if I have any on hand, though the soup is plenty fantastic without them too.
Serves: 3-4
Source: adapted from Once Upon a Tart by Frank Mentesana and Jerome Audureau

1 1/2 cups (275g) French green lentils (brown lentils work in a pinch)
6 cups (1.5l) vegetable or chicken stock
1 bushy sprig fresh thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
3 tablespoons butter, vegetable or coconut oil
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
a pinch of freshly-ground nutmeg
1 cup (250ml) coconut milk, or to taste (I normally use a whole 14oz/400ml can which makes a slightly richer soup)
a few handfuls (~7oz/200g) fresh spinach, chard or kale, washed, tough stems discarded and cut into ribbons (optional)
salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

Rinse the lentils and pick out any debris. Combine them in a pot with the stock, thyme and tumeric and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat slightly and simmer until the lentils are soft, about 20 minutes. Fish out the thyme.

While the lentils are cooking, heat the butter or oil in a smallish skillet and sauté the onion over medium heat, stirring frequently, until browned and caramelized in places, about 12-15 minutes. Add the garlic and spices and fry just until deeply aromatic, about 30 seconds. Scrape the contents of the skillet into the pot with the lentils, and add the coconut milk and optional greens too. Bring everything back to a gentle boil and cook another 10 minutes, or until the flavors have blended and the greens are tender. Add salt and pepper to taste.” ~ melissa

** the only things i added were chopped pistachios and drizzled some additional coconut oil before serving ~ gina

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