Chili Red Lentil Soup
Veggies and spices add nutrients and flavor to red lentil soup.
- About 2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
- 2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
- 2 celery ribs, chopped
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 Fresno chili pepper, unseeded, very thinly sliced
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon cumin (a scant palmful)
- 1 tablespoon turmeric (a scant palmful)
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander (a scant palmful)
- 1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom (1/3 palmful)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 1/2 cups red lentils
- 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1/2 pound spinach leaves, stemmed and coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup mint leaves (a couple of handfuls)
- 1/4 cup cilantro leaves (a generous handful)
- 1 cup thick plain Greek-style yogurt
- Plain or garlic Naan bread (available in packaged breads section of larger markets) or other flat bread brushed
- Melted butter, for brushing
- Heat the oil, a couple of turns of the pan, or butter in a soup pot over medium to medium-high heat. Add the carrots, celery, onion, garlic and chili pepper and season liberally with salt and lightly with black pepper. Cook to soften, 8-10 minutes.
- Add the spices and stir for a minute or two, then stir in the tomato paste and cook for a minute more. Add the lentils and stock and bring soup to a boil. Cook until lentils are very tender, 40 minutes or so, then wilt in the spinach and turn off the heat.
- While the soup cooks, process the mint, cilantro and yogurt in a food processor or blender into a sauce. Add salt, to taste.
- Griddle-toast the bread according to the package directions, then brush bread with melted butter.
- Serve the soup in shallow bowls topped with the cool yogurt sauce and buttered Naan bread alongside.