I've been on Cat Cora cooking kick lately, and I have been cooking my way through her latest cookbook -Cat Cora's Classics with a Twist. Cat puts a new spin on some old favorites making each dish faster, fresher, and lighter. Each recipe beautifully illustrates her food motto: just because a dish is a classic doesn't mean it can't be improved upon. One of the recipes that I couldn't wait to try was Cat's curried lentil soup, and she had originally made this for an episode of Oprah. It was something "healthy," and part of her fresh and frugal meal planning. Healthy, cheap and fresh - that's a winner already in my book.
Soups are one of my favorite comfort foods and go-to meals whenever the weather starts getting a little bit colder. I had never tried lentils and this was easy to prepare without having to use the pressure cooker. I loved the aroma of exotic spices and the beautiful orange lentils cooked into a beautiful creamy Fall soup. You could easily add some cooked proteins like crispy bacon, tofu chunks, shrimp or sliced chicken into the curry soup and it would be a complete meal. Try this soup if you're looking for something a little more extraordinary than your bowl of chicken noodle soup. Enjoy!
Curried Orange Lentil Soup
Adapted from Cat Cora's Classics with a Twist
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 large white onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced finely
2 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon pure chile powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pound split orange lentils
2 cups chicken stock
6 to 8 cups water
1/2 cup nonfat Greek-style plain yogurt or light sour ream
1/2 cup fresh cilantro or 1/2 cup chopped green onions
1 large lemon, cut into wedges
1/2 cup queso fresco, crumbled
In a large dutch oven over medium high heat, add the olive oil and butter. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 10 minutes.
Add the garlic, ginger and all the spices and stir well. Cook until the ingredients form a fragrant paste and stir around, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the lentils, chicken stock and water. Bring to a boil and stir well. Turn the heat to a simmer and cook until the lentils have softened, about 40 minutes to 1 hour. Make sure to stir occasionally and adding more water if the soup thickens.
Taste for seasonings, and add salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls, top with a dollop of yogurt or sour cream, and garnish with cilantro or onions and crumbled queso fresco. Add a squeeze of lemon to finish the soup. Enjoy!