It’s Saturday! We made it. I think this week took so long and forever, and by Tuesday I had convinced myself it was Thursday, only to sadly realize that was so not the case. But today is in fact Saturday and we might as well enjoy it the best we can since for most of us here Stateside, this weekend gives us one less hour. Life really is just so unfair sometimes.
In order to cram every hour of joy into our 47-hour weekend, I’ve got a real easy one for you today, but a good one nonetheless. Every once in a while, a dish comes through and really surprises. This is one. This very simple, nothing extraordinary but amazing lentil dish. This dish I wanted to eat every day this week and of which I have still not tired.
Despite the fact that we had lentils at each and every meal growing up, I don’t make them. Almost never, but with Lent upon us Catholics and a gentle nudge to eat less meaty bits, I figured this was perfect for the times at hand. Inspiration comes from Egypt and my trusty book Around the World in 80 Dishes, and I only made a couple of tweaks on it. I almost followed the recipe on this one.
Things start nice and easy with standard soup ingredients: butter, onion, carrot, celery. We can really go anywhere we want with this base, but we’re heading to Egypt, so in goes the bay, cumin and coriander, and some crushed red pepper for kick. Lentils and stock make it whole and parsley and crispy shallots on top make it pretty and a little fancy. Oh, and a drizzle of balsamic because, why the heck not.
That’s it. Now, go off and play. After all, it’s Saturday.
- 2 tsp unsalted butter
- 2 carrots, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 ribs celery, diced
- 1 large onion, diced (about 1 cup)
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 200 g/1 1/4 cup red lentils
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 1/2 TB olive oil
- 2 shallots, thinly sliced
- parsley, to serve
- To a large stock pot over medium-high heat, melt the butter, and then add the onions, carrots, celery and garlic. Saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the bay leaves, cumin and coriander, salt, pepper and red pepper and let toast about 1 minute.
- Add the stock and lentils and simmer, covered, until the lentils are soft, about 40 minutes.
- Meanwhile, to a small saute pan, add the oil and the shallots, and cook until crispy. Drain on a paper towel and serve atop the soup.
- You know what you be great on this? A touch of feta. Try that!
Written after a really fun dinner.