Aside from banana-walnut chocolate cookies, I also made a savoury Moroccan red lentil soup last weekend. I absolutely love soups. There’s nothing like the warmth and comfort of a steamy bowl of soup, especially on a chilly winter day. When I’m out at a restaurant and my entree comes with the choice of a soup or salad, I almost always choose the soup.
I roughly followed a recipe I found on the website for Canadian Living magazine – a magazine that contains recipes, health information, life and relationship tips, etc. – with a few modifications. I omitted the celery, peas, and sour cream and I used fresh tomatoes (grape tomatoes) instead of canned tomatoes. I used chicken broth instead of water and added a 156 mL can of tomato paste instead of just a tablespoon of tomato paste. Also, I added carrots and roasted red and orange peppers. Lastly, I used an immersion blender to blend the final product instead of leaving it as is.
I began by roasting one red and one orange bell pepper. I did a little research (which is to say I googled it) on different methods for roasting peppers. I settled on de-seeding and cutting the peppers up into fairly large strips, tossing them in a little bit of olive oil, then placing them on a baking sheet covered in foil. I pre-heated the oven to 400 degrees and popped the peppers in.
I didn’t really time how long I left the peppers in but essentially left them in the oven until the skin began to blister ad turn a bit brown. At that point, I removed them, put them in a metal bowl, then covered the bowl with the foil for about 5-10 minutes. The steam that builds up in the bowl makes the skin easier to peel. I then peeled the red peppers and put them aside for later.
The next few steps involved a lot of chopping, mincing and dicing! I chopped up one large sweet onion, four cloves of garlic, six tiny potatoes, and two carrots (I actually had one large and two small ones). I also halved one pint of grape tomatoes.
While I was at it, I chopped up some parsley to be used as a garnish for the soup.
Once all the prep was completed, I was ready to start the actually cooking! I started by pouring 1-2 tbsp of olive oil into a dutch oven at medium-high heat. After the oil started to heat up, I added the onion and stirred it around just until it started to soften and become translucent. I then added the garlic and stirred it around some more.
The next step was to add all the spices – 1 tsp pepper, 2 tsp cumin, 1 tsp tumeric, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground ginger – and stir them in.
It was then time to add the six cups of chicken broth and then a 156 mL (5.5 oz) can of tomato paste.
After stirring the tomato paste into the broth, I added all the remaining chopped vegetables and one cup of red lentils. I then simmered the soup for about half and hour. I didn’t time this exactly but just waited until all the vegetables and lentils had softened.
Finally, I blended it all up with an immersion blender. I could have blended it a bit more smoothly but I chose to leave it a little bit lumpy.
When it was time to serve the soup, I added a little bit of the chopped parsley as a garnish.
Here is a list of the ingredients I used for the soup:
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large sweet onion
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp tumeric
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup red lentils
- 6 mini potatoes
- 2 large carrots
- 1 pint grape tomatoes
- 2 sweet bell peppers
- 1 can of tomato paste (156 mL or 5.5 oz)
- 2 tbsp chopped parsley
As an aside, I served the soup along with Moroccan spiced pan-fried pork chops (seasoned with cumin, tumeric, salt, and pepper) and steamed spinach.
Please let me know if you have any other tips for Moroccan inspired dishes! I love these flavours! I actually own a tagine and hope to blog about my experiences using it another time!