Thursday, February 7, 2008

Red Lentil-Apricot Soup

I found a bag of red lentils (which are really more orange-salmon in color--at least in my bag) at the grocery last week. Remembering the foodblogging event, A Legume Love Affair hosted by the spicy Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook, I thought I'd give them a try as my entry. See the roundup here.

I found this recipe at called Red Lentil and Apricot Soup and, for once, I stuck closely to the directions as written. It's quite easy, and although the ingredients seem unorthodox, it is surprisingly delicious! You don't really taste the apricots outright--but they do act to balance the flavors out nicely. That said, I think the soup needs a bit more zing--next time I think I'll add some freshly grated ginger along with a light sprinkle of cayenne pepper. That should do the trick.

This soup has superb, complex flavor that is a treat for the tastebuds. Two friends and I enjoyed it as part of a soup-and-salad tasting lunch (there were two soups to try along with a nice salad). That said, next time I make this soup I'll probably add some freshly grated ginger and a good sprinkle of cayenne pepper for a little zing.

Red Lentil-Apricot Soup
serves 6

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup dried apricots, chopped
1-1/2 cups dried red lentils
5 cups chicken broth or stock
3 ripe plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped (I cheated here--used 4 small canned peeled plum tomatoes, seeds and all, squished up well)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about the juice of 1/2 lemon)

Heat oil in a soup pot; add onion and apricots. Saute until onions are transparent. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add lentils and chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until lentils are tender (about 30 minutes).

Stir in tomatoes, cumin, thyme, salt and pepper. Simmer, covered, 10 minutes. (As you can see, the lentils turned a golden yellow after cooking--go figure!)

Remove soup from heat. Using a stick blender (or transfer soup to a blender), puree soup to desired consistency. (I gave it only a few whirls to thicken the soup--I wanted some texture to remain. As you can see, there are still some chunky bits in the soup.)

Add lemon juice and stir; serve hot.


Susan said...

Unusual flavors often work in mysteriously wonderful ways. I think this is just great, Mrs. W.

Thanks for joining in!

Mrs. W said...

Thanks, Susan! I look forward to reading about all the other entries. Such an interesting event.

Johanna said...

Now this is a recipe I have long wanted to try - anything with apricots appeals to me - but will take note of your comments about it needing some zing - I think I have a few recipes but I only got as far as being inspired to put apricots in a chilli non carne which I liked!

Mrs. W said...

Apricots in chili sounds delightful. I've enjoyed chopped up prunes in chili as well--and a little curry powder for some added interest!

Let me know how you like this soup if you do try it.

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