The first time I made it, not being able to find cumin in my pantry, I added curry powder. But it takes on a too strong flavor, so I stick to the original cumin. It complements the other ingredients really well.
I don’t know in your part of the world, but here cumin is used a lot in meat empanadas (hand pies), one of our most common delivery foods. It doesn’t have a good reputation in many cases.But as with many ingredients, once you get hold of a good one and use it in good recipes, the results are always different a.k.a. great.
Have you ever tried red or turkish lentils? They are quite different from regular brown ones and cook in no time, much quicker than the carrots, but since this is a creamy soup, I add it all together, so the lentils overcook a bit and add an extra layer of creaminess.
The weather is very temperamental here. Spring is not really settling in. We go from hot to cold and in between on a weekly basis.Hope this summer is not scorching, though I’m not particularly hopeful. But I love this city and its moody weather.
Other recipes from this wonderful book that you must try: Chocolate Banana Quinoa Muffins, a sensational Plum Hazelnut Yogurt Cake, and my latest favorite cake, the Lemon and Blackberry Teacakes. And they’re all gluten-free.
Red Lentil and Carrot Soup
Yield 4 servings
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 red onion, in chunks (you can use white onions)
- 1 medium leek, white and light green part only, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme, or 2 twigs fresh
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed or chopped
- 1 medium tomato or 10/12 cherry tomatoes
- 1 Tablespoon tomato extract
- 3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into rounds
- 1 cup red (turkish) lentils, dried and rinsed in cold water
- 4 cups cold water
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup coconut milk (sometimes I use almond milk)
- Fresh lime, in wedges, to serve
- Fresh parsley, chopped, to serve
- In a medium saucepan with high borders, melt butter with olive oil.
- Add onion, leek, cumin and thyme. Cook for a few minutes on medium heat until they start to soften.
- Add garlic, fresh tomato and tomato extract. Cook stirring for a few minutes, until the tomato starts to soften.
- Add carrots, lentils, water, bay leaf and some salt and pepper. Be careful with the salt at this point as the soup will reduce while cooking.
- Lower the heat a bit, and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the lentils and carrots and very soft.
- With an immersion blender mix until completely smooth and creamy. You can use the blender if it allows for boiling liquids without problem.
- Serve immediately with some coconut milk, parsley and lime wedges to be squeezed on top just before eating.
adapted from La Tartine Gourmande, by Beatrice Peltre