Roasted Eggplant, Lentil, Orzo Stew

A few days ago, I arrived home from the grocery store with 5 or 6 bags of groceries, mostly vegetables for our “Soup Every Day Project.” I shop twice every week and I know most of the cashiers by name and they know my name. Some even know our dog’s name, Freddy, as I have given them his business card. Yes. He has a business card because he is a very good boy and cute as a button.

Anyway, Susan saw that I had bought an eggplant and she said “Bruce, what do you plan on cooking with the eggplant?” I answered, “I thought I might make eggplant parm or moussaka.” And she said, “I just found this interesting recipe for eggplant. What not take a look at it.” And I did and I said, “Susan, that sounds delicious.” And it was delicious.

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ pounds eggplant (2 small or 1 large, skin on, or peeled, if desired), chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds, crushed
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup dried lentils (green, black or brown)
  • 5 cups chicken or vegetable stock, or water
  • ½ cup orzo or other small pasta, such as ditalini, stelline or macaroni
  • Zest and juice from 1 lemon, plus 4 lemon wedges for garnish
  • ¼ cup shaved ricotta salata or crumbled feta

Preparation

  1. Heat the oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, toss the eggplant with 1/4 cup olive oil and crushed coriander seeds until coated; season with salt and pepper. Arrange in an even layer on a large rimmed baking sheet and roast until eggplant is tender and golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes, giving the baking sheet a shake halfway through roasting to toss the eggplant pieces for even cooking.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium. Add the carrot, onion and celery. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened, about 3 minutes.
  3. Stir in the garlic and tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until tomato paste begins to darken on the bottom of the pan, about 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the lentils until coated. Pour in stock or water and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower to medium and simmer until lentils are tender, 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the type and age of lentils you use.
  5. Stir in the orzo and cook until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon zest and juice.
  6. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with the roasted eggplant pieces and large shavings of ricotta salata, and serve with lemon wedges for squeezing.

Red Lentil Soup with Peas and Ham

I had leftover ham from Easter and I wondered if I could find a lentil and ham recipe. I did at Food Network Magazine. So delicious!!!

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup diced ham (about 4 ounces) (Note: I used 2 cups diced ham)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill (Note: I used 1 tablespoon dried)
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, diced (3 to 4 medium potatoes)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth (My homemade stock)
  • 1 cup dried yellow or red lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen peas (thawed if frozen)
  • 3 tablespoons plain yogurt

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the ham, onion and 2 tablespoons dill; cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is golden, about 5 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, potatoes, 1/2 cup water and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are just soft, 8 to 10 minutes.

Add the chicken broth, 1 1/2 cups water and the lentils; cover and bring to a simmer. Uncover and cook until the potatoes are tender and the lentils begin to fall apart, 12 to 15 more minutes. Stir in the peas, yogurt and the remaining 1 tablespoon dill. Ladle the soup into bowls.

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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