a cure for darkness

Red Lentil Soup
I have to warn you. I’m a little addicted to soups these days. It isn’t necessarily the cold, since we had a bit of a heat wave in Chicago this weekend (yes 70 degrees in November is hot) but I think its the early darkness. I get asked all the time why I would choose to move from Texas to a place with many months of winter and I respond that I don’t really mind the cold, just the dark. Come February when you leave for work when its dark and come home when its dark since its pitch black at 4PM, it can get a tad depressing. You can always put on a thicker sweater or an extra pair of socks to get warm, but there is nothing you can do about the sun.

Red Lentil Soup

I think this is where soup comes in. I can’t think of something more comforting on a dark and cold evening than a bowl of soup. Some soups are all day affairs, especially if you are starting with your own pot of homemade stock. However others, like this Red Lentil, can be whipped up in half an hour. I used Basmati rice because my brown had managed to go bad so it took no time at all to cook. The red lentils break down somewhat in the same way as split pea. I topped mine with some crumbled goat cheese and a little swirl of good olive oil and added a few more spices to the pot.

Red Lentil Soup

I picked up my red lentils at the Whole Food bulk bar here at the new location in Chicago. This recipe didn’t make a ton like some other soups but if you wanted to double it and stick the excess in the freezer (you know how I like my freezer) feel free to.

Red Lentil Soup (printable recipe)
Adapted from 101 Cookbooks

1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
1 quart veggie stock plus 2 cups of water (or 6 cups of water)
1 1/2 cup red lentils, picked them over to find any debris
1/2 basmati rice (or any rice of your choice, I would have used brown if I had it)
kosher or sea salt
good olive oil

Optional toppings:
slivered almonds
crumbed goat cheese or feta

In a dutch oven, heat 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the chopped onion and saute for 4 or 5 minutes until softened. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes and chipotle peppers and cook for another minute or two. Stir in the broth and water and bring to a boil. Stir in lentils and rice and simmer over medium to medium low heat for about 30 minutes. Add more water if it gets to thick and salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with any toppings that you wish. I really enjoyed the goat cheese with the flavors in this simple soup.

12 responses to “a cure for darkness

  1. Aren’t soups the best? I just wrote about my new favorite red lentil soup on my blog–those red lentil soups are easy to love.

    I think you and I did the Texas/Chicago thing in opposite orders: I just finished graduate school at Northwestern and moved to Texas in October! Texas is lovely–the nice people, the warmth, the okra!–but I miss Chicago very much.

  2. I love that first photo! Those lentils are amazing. My husband has been after some soups lately, I may have to try this. We love lentils but I don’t make it enough.

    I live in the burbs and I absolutely can’t stand this darkness! argh! Talk about depressing.

  3. I love cooking with red lentils. They are so easy to make! We keep them in a clear glass jar so we can look at the pretty color all the time 🙂

  4. I’m just getting on a soup kick too and just made some awesome curried butternut squash soup. but now that it’s gone im looking for the next fix 🙂

  5. I make red lentil soup all the time, but I have never thought to eat it with slivered almonds. I absolutely love this idea, can’t wait to try it next time.

  6. Nice name :-}

    Stumbled upon your site from another foodie site-very glad I did! This lentil soup recipe looks awesome. . .I may try it tomorrow. Norway is getting cold and dark now. . .this might be just the thing to warm me up.

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  8. Hot damn, that looks like the perfect thing for these gloomy evenings.

  9. I love red lentils because they cook so quickly! I don’t know if you have a Wegman’s, if so, they sell this in the prepared foods. Or, you can make it yourself —


    Yummy soup and homemade bread totally make the cold weather worthwhile!

  10. I made this soup today based on your post. Yum! I used brown Jasmine rice as that was all that I had – it was wonderful. I topped mine with a dollop of sour cream. I think my leftovers tomorrow will get some goat cheese crumbles. Thanks!

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  12. Rose-Anne-Where in TX?

    Raquel-Hope you find some red lentils

    Lindsey-I had never had red lentils until this recipe. Now I am a fan.

    Heather-Hooray for soup!

    Whitney-GREAT name 🙂

    Wiggs-Damn right!

    Annalisa-No Wegman’s in Chicago, but I have been to one in West Chester, PA. Great store!

    Sarah-Glad you liked it!

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