My family is full of wonderful (French!) cooks.
Every Christmas, there is a smorgasbord of delicacies flooding the tables. Everyone goes above and beyond normal, pulling out hours of preparation for one single meal. The sight and smells alone are enough to make your taste buds do cartwheels before even taking one single bite.
Broccoli pie. Cauliflower gratin. Buttery rich rolls. French Canadian meat pie. Standing rib roasts. Maple roasted brussels sprouts. Desserts that would make even the staunchest of grinches swoon in delight.
And every single Christmas, I eat to my heart and soul’s content.
And then a week goes by, and I’m still eating to my heart and soul’s content. It’s around that time when I realize that instead of sighing and groaning and doing cartwheels inside my mouth, I’m craving simple foods. Longing for something to take me in another direction. A direction which doesn’t involve butter, heavy meats or sugary things.
Thank God for lentils.
No. Really. Thank. God.
(Fun Fact: Did you know that lentils are mentioned in the Bible?)
Lentils have the unearthly capability of reaching the very depths of my soul with their warmth and quiet strength. For such a tiny little legume, lentils pack a powerful punch of nutrients and fiber. They fill me up, heart and belly. They’re simple but not at all boring or plain.
Truth be told, this curried lentil soup does call for butter. But instead of globs and layers, only a smidgen is used for flavor. Sometimes I do completely without, but most times I like to add it in. Even a little bit adds such luxury to the dish.
After almost a week of eating like a queen, it feels good to be back to normal eating once again. I love butter and sugar. But I love lentils even more. And, best of all, lentils love me back.
Lentil Soup by Molly Wizenberg
French lentils are pretty little things that are usually available in the bulk bins of specialty grocery stories (i.e., Whole Foods, etc.) However, if you can’t find them, replace regular brown lentils, which are available almost everywhere!d
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
- 2 large garlic cloves, chopped, divided
- 2 tablespoons (or more) curry powder
- 1 cup French green lentils
- 4 1/4 cups (or more) water, divided
- 1 15- to 16-ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained, rinsed
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter (optional)
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1 lemon, cut into 6 wedges
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onion and carrot; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until onion is translucent, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Add half of chopped garlic; stir until vegetables are soft but not brown, about 4 minutes longer. Add 2 tablespoons curry powder; stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add lentils and 4 cups water. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Increase heat and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium; simmer until lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, puree chickpeas, lemon juice, 1/4 cup water, remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, and remaining garlic in processor.
- Add chickpea puree and butter to lentil soup. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and additional curry powder, if desired. Add water by 1/4 cupfuls to thin to desired consistency. DO AHEAD Soup can be made up to 1 day ahead. Cool, cover, and refrigerate. Rewarm before continuing.