I have had this recipe in my radar since I found it online last fall. That’s certainly not the longest period of time a recipe has waited around for me to make it, but this particular recipe sounded really delicious, and not too complicated, and almost every week I would say, “This week I’m going to make it.” Yet, somehow, it never happened. Now we are heading into spring, and my mind is moving on to spring foods, rhubarb, fresh lettuce and spinach, and spring onions, not heavy winter foods like sweet potatoes–but I had to make this recipe or let it hang unresolved all summer. And I am so glad I did make it! The soup was delicious, my favorite out of all the new recipes I’ve posted on here so far, and surprisingly easy–if you read the directions ahead of time and prepare appropriately, as I failed to do. Oops! Still delicious, though.
Red Lentil and Sweet Potato Curried Soup (Cascadian Farm Organic recipes online)
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2″ chunks
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
- 1 tbsp garam masala
- ½ tsp coriander
- ½ tsp cumin
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 cup dry red lentils
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 5 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 cup of coconut milk
- 1/2 cup of water
“Preheat oven to 350º F. In a medium bowl, toss sweet potatoes and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Spread onto a baking sheet and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Bake for one hour or until fork tender.
About 30 minutes into the sweet potato cooking time in a medium saucepan, heat remaining olive oil over medium-high heat. Add in diced onion and sauté for 5 minutes until onions start to sweat and become tender. Add garlic and ginger and sauté for 30 seconds more. Add in garam masala, coriander, cumin, turmeric and red pepper flakes. Cook for 30 seconds. Add in lentils and stock. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 25-30 minutes.
When sweet potatoes are done, mash lightly and add to the soup. Season with salt and pepper as desired. Continue cooking for an additional 15 minutes. Using an immersion blender (or cooling slightly and using a regular blender or food processor), mix soup until smooth and no lumps remain. Add in coconut milk and simmer over medium-low heat for five minutes.
Serve warm with a dollop of Greek-style yogurt or sour cream.
Makes 4 servings.”
Daylight savings time has really thrown me off this year. It’s probably not helping that Brian’s schedule is up super early and to bed early, so if I miscalculate time, and dinner is late, we end up eating within an hour of bedtime. Last night was one of those nights. Dinner was delicious, but neither of us could have seconds, because it was so close to bedtime. I really do need to learn to read recipes in advance to plan, so when a recipe calls for baking sweet potatoes for an hour prior to cooking the recipe, I’m prepared. Live and learn.
My first step of this recipe was a time-saving short cut. Why peel and cube sweet potatoes that are just going to be mashed and blended into soup anyway? I scrubbed both potatoes thoroughly and threw them whole into the oven for the hour of baking. They baked completely, and all I had to do was pop off the skins once I’d taken them out and cooled them enough to handle, mash them slightly, and slide them into the rest of the soup. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
I am not a very good vegetable cutter. I don’t really do variations like dice, cube, or slice. I just chop things up, usually in bigger chunks than called for, because it’s easy. I know I need to work on my chopping technique, but it hasn’t been a high priority for me yet. Last night’s recipe was just going to puree the onions with everything else anyway, so my priority was to make sure they were thoroughly cooked and therefore soft enough to blend smoothly. I succeeded.
As usual, for the ginger and garlic, I used pre-processed from a jar. My favorite brand for both ingredients, Gilroy Farms, offers both minced ginger and minced garlic in glass jars, which makes measuring precise amounts easier and reduces wasted produce. I simply don’t use enough fresh ginger to make buying a whole root financially sensible, and the jarred items keep very well in the fridge. Garlic I’m sure I use frequently enough to buy whole cloves, but I prefer to spend my time on things other than peeling and chopping garlic.
So once the onions were sauteed to a soft consistency, I added the ginger and garlic, and soon after the spices. I use my own garam masala blend, since finding a pre-made blend at conventional grocery stores can be challenging, and garam masala is not hard to blend. I have all the spices that go into it in my collection already, so every few months, I blend a new batch to replenish my supply. Last night I used the last of my current batch, so I need to blend another promptly. (Would anyone be interested in the recipe for that mix to be posted later?)
Dry red lentils seem softer than the green lentils I’d always used before, and had a more pleasant smell to them–almost fruity, I thought last night. This is my first time cooking with them. I tossed them into the mixture, along with the broth. I’m sad to say last night’s broth was made from broth base instead of using my own homemade broth, since I’m out of the homemade, and haven’t replenished my supply yet. The soup might have tasted even better had I used homemade, but I didn’t, and it tasted great anyway.
After all of the ingredients were cooked thoroughly, I added the teaspoon of kosher salt and a sprinkle of black pepper, and then used my handy-dandy favorite-kitchen-appliance-ever, my Kitchen Aid immersion blender, to puree the soup to an even consistency. I won’t say there were no chunks, because I did get tired of the occasional splashes of hot soup, and stopped once the soup seemed “smooth enough”. Once it was blended, I mixed in the coconut milk–more So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk beverage, instead of the canned stuff. Canned coconut milk works fine and tastes fine, but I had an open carton of So Delicious on hand, so I used it.
I did have a few questions about the recipe. Why did the ingredients call for a half cup of water? I couldn’t find a use for it anywhere in the recipe. It’s not a big deal, but definitely cost me a few extra minutes reading and rereading the recipe to make sure I didn’t miss a step somewhere. Also, the recipe calls for a tsp of kosher salt, but then says to salt and pepper to taste. Why give a measurement if it’s to personal taste anyway? If anyone figures out those mysteries, please do let me know.
Finally, at far too late of an hour, dinner was ready, and I ladled out two bowls of it. No, I didn’t serve it with yogurt or sour cream. We ate it dairy-free as I made it. And wow! This soup really does taste amazing. I know a lot of people have noted how often I cook with sweet potatoes, and also that they don’t like sweet potatoes, but this soup didn’t taste strongly of sweet potatoes. Or of lentils. Or of coconut. It also wasn’t too spicy hot, despite the variety of spices included. All the diverse ingredients just seemed to merge into one new, greater taste, and it was wonderful! (By they way, it’s nutritious and filling too, lots of fiber and vitamins and all–but that can be our secret.) I can’t wait for leftovers tonight, and I’m planning to make the recipe again next week, and add it to my regular recipe rotation, especially in the fall and winter. I am so glad I finally got around to trying this recipe!