While it's always nice to get away from the day-to-day, I'm a homebody, and I am very happy to be home. I have done no cooking in the past 5 days, unless you call making a sandwich or toasting bread cooking. With 5 kids in tow, we didn't exactly enjoy 5-star restaurants. Nope, we ate here, which is more of a novelty, what with people throwing rolls and passing out fried okra. We also ate more pizza and fast food than I care to admit. So, after arriving home, unpacking, and starting laundry, I headed to the kitchen. I needed to cook, but my supplies were somewhat limited. Why lentil soup? Well, it is a quick-cooking soup; I love lentils, and I've got a bit of a sore throat, yet again, so I wanted something warm and comforting. Plus, I had a half bag of leftover lentils after making these little gems a few weeks ago. I used red lentils, but brown or green would work, too.
1 cup red lentils
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup onions, diced
1/2 cup celery, diced
1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, diced
1 tablespoon grated garlic
2 cups chicken broth
14 oz can diced tomatoes
14 oz can lite coconut milk
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
Salt & pepper to taste
Yogurt or heavy cream, optional
In a medium-sized Dutch oven, heat olive oil and add onions, celery, bell pepper, jalapeno pepper, and garlic.
Cook until tender; add curry & cardamom to onion mixture, and continue to cook for another 5 minutes.
Add lentils, diced tomatoes, and chicken broth.
Bring to a boil, lower heat, and cook for 20 minutes, stirring often.
After 20 minutes, add the can of coconut milk and one can of water. Return to a boil, lower heat, and continue to cook until lentils are tender.
Taste for seasoning, and add as necessary.
I like my soup somewhat thick, so I allow most of the liquid to evaporate, but cook the soup to your preference.
Serve with a dollop of yogurt or drizzle of heavy cream, if desired.