Apricot and Red Lentil Soup

Rainy day here in Western Massachusetts and what better than a bowl of this apricot and red lentil soup! YUM!!!

Ingredients
  • 1 14 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, cut into 1/4-inch pieces (2 1/2 cups)
  • 2 medium carrots, scrubbed and cut into 1/4-inch pieces (1 1/2 cups)
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 2/3 cup dried split red lentils
  • 4 cups homemade (if possible) chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or more as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more as needed
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for serving
Directions

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion and carrots; cook, stirring occasionally, until they soften and turn sweet, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the garlic, apricots and cumin seed; cook until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the diced tomatoes and cook for a few minutes.

Add the lentils, pour in the broth and increase the heat to medium-high. Once the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low so the liquid is barely bubbling. Cover and cook until the lentils are tender, 20 minutes.

Stir in the thyme leaves and lemon juice, then remove from the heat.

Use an immersion (stick) blender to blend about half the soup in the pot, leaving the rest to give the soup texture. (Alternatively, you can transfer half the soup to a blender, puree, and return it to the pot.) Add the salt and pepper, taste, and add more as needed.

Divide the soup among bowls, top with the parsley and serve hot.

Adapted from “Samarkand: Recipes & Stories From Central Asia & the Caucasus,” by Caroline Eden and Eleanor Ford (Kyle Books, 2016).

 

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Baked Fish and Chips

You will love this!

Ingredients

  • 2 russet potatoes (1 1/4 pounds total), cut into very thin slices with a handheld slicer
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/4 cups panko
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless cod fillet, cut into 1-inch-thick strips
  • Lemon and cucumber wedges, malt vinegar, ketchup, and flaky sea salt, such as Maldon, for serving (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees with racks in upper and lower thirds. Soak potatoes in warm water 5 minutes; drain and dry thoroughly. Toss with oil and rosemary, season with salt and pepper, and spread on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake on top rack 20 minutes. Meanwhile, toast panko on another rimmed baking sheet on bottom rack until golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a wide dish. Place flour in another dish; season with salt and pepper. Whisk eggs in a third dish. Season fish with salt; coat in flour, then eggs, then panko. Transfer, narrow side down, to a parchment-lined baking sheet.

  2. Flip potatoes; transfer to lower rack. Place fish on upper rack; bake until fish is just cooked through and potatoes are crisp and golden brown in places, 16 to 18 minutes. Serve with lemon and cucumber wedges, vinegar, ketchup, and salt.

From Martha Stewart.

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Red Lentil Soup

Easy to make and delicious! Made March 14, 2017—the day of Blizzard Stella.

From Melissa Clark, New York Times.

She writes:

“This is a lentil soup that defies expectations of what lentil soup can be. It is light, spicy and a bold red color (no murky brown here): a revelatory dish that takes less than an hour to make. The cooking is painless. Sauté onion and garlic in oil, then stir in tomato paste, cumin and chile powder and cook a few minutes more to intensify flavor. Add broth, water, red lentils (which cook faster than their green or black counterparts) and diced carrot, and simmer for 30 minutes. Purée half the mixture and return it to the pot for a soup that strikes the balance between chunky and pleasingly smooth. A hit of lemon juice adds an up note that offsets the deep cumin and chile flavors.”

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, more for drizzling
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Pinch of ground chile powder or cayenne, more to taste
  • 1 quart chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon, more to taste
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Preparation

  1. In a large pot, heat 3 tablespoons oil over high heat until hot and shimmering. Add onion and garlic, and sauté until golden, about 4 minutes.
  2. Stir in tomato paste, cumin, salt, black pepper and chili powder or cayenne, and sauté for 2 minutes longer.
  3. Add broth, 2 cups water, lentils and carrot. Bring to a simmer, then partially cover pot and turn heat to medium-low. Simmer until lentils are soft, about 30 minutes. Taste and add salt if necessary.
  4. Using an immersion or regular blender or a food processor, purée half the soup then add it back to pot. Soup should be somewhat chunky.
  5. Reheat soup if necessary, then stir in lemon juice and cilantro. Serve soup drizzled with good olive oil and dusted lightly with chili powder if desired.

 

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