Back in 2010, not long after I started my blog, I made Bittman's Curried Lentil and Potato Soup. This would turn out to be my very favorite lentil recipe and I would go on to make it countless times.
This is hands down one of the most comforting dishes on my blog. It is also extremely cheap, simple, and healthy. As a bonus, everyone should have these ingredients on hand in their pantry.
Lentils, potatoes, can of coconut milk, homemade broth or water, and curry powder. Years ago, when I made this for the very first time, I simply used water in place of broth and it was still delicious. This time around I used Mark Bittman's Quick Vegetable Stock that I made and shared last week.
The cost of this soup is so minimal. We're talking $3-4 for the entire pot of soup. Beyond the minimal cost, this soup is incredibly healthy, especially with the homemade veggie stock. It is vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and probably friendly for just about ANY diet. There's no butter or oil needed, so the only fat you get is from the coconut milk. Lentils are a powerhouse, low in calories, but rich in iron and folate, and an excellent source of protein. If you'd like, leave the skin on the potatoes to gain all the nutrients of the potato, full of vitamin B, vitamin C, iron calcium, and potassium.
This soup is soul-soothing. I find it so very delicious and comforting. It's thick and hearty, almost creamy, with incredible flavor. I absolutely adore it and have no problems eating the whole batch myself. In fact, it makes for a very tasty lunch at work and keeps very well in the fridge.
If you're fond of lentils, please do yourself a favor and make this recipe. I'm convinced this recipe is THE ONE as far as lentil soup goes. And, if this recipe appears too simple and you feel the need to change things up, do me a favor and don't. Make it just how it's written. The curry powder delivers the amount of seasoning. If you do feel inclined to add another spice, a dash or so of coriander seed works well.
Curried Lentil and Potato Soup
Adapted from How To Cook Everything Vegetarian
by Mark Bittman
1 cup dried brown lentils, washed and picked over
3-1/2 cups mixture (one can of coconut milk + vegetable broth or water)
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 medium russet potatoes, chopped, skins on
salt and pepper, to taste
cilantro, for garnish, if you like
Combine the lentils, liquids, and curry powder in a stockpot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Turn the heat down to medium-low so that the mixture bubbles gently, cover partially, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the lentils start to absorb the water a bit, about 15 minutes.
Add the potatoes and cover the pan completely. Cook, undisturbed for 10 minutes or so, then stir gently and check to make sure the lentils aren't too dry. If so, add a little more liquid. Add the salt and pepper as the lentils become tender.
Cover and continue to cook until the lentils are sot and beginning to turn to mush and the potatoes are tender at the center, another 5-10 minutes (mine had to go longer); add liquid if necessary. The mixture should be moist but not soupy. Add lots of black pepper, stir, then taste and adjust the seasoning and serve, garnished with yogurt, if you like, and/or cilantro.
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