Spice Up Your Spring With Soup

Posted by on Jul 9, 2012 in Cranston Patch, Soups | 0 comments

Spice Up Your Spring With Soup

Posted on April 22, 2012 at 4:02 pm – Cranston Patch I don’t know about all of you in Patch-land, but I LOVE soup. I could eat it every day.  I’ll eat it for lunch, dinner, even breakfast (okay, that’s pushing it, but it’s been known to happen). You can eat it as a one-dish meal or as a starter or even as a dessert. It’s the best way to keep warm in winter and cool in summer. And the most beautiful part about it is it is easy to make, inexpensive, and sooo good for you. While in the winter I crave rich squash and pumpkin bisques, nourishing beef and barley soups, at this time of year my thoughts turn to soups that are a bit lighter. One of my favorites in the spring is a Spicy Spring Lentil Soup. This isn’t quite as robust as my winter-style lentil soup that I cook with ham and red wine and tomato paste. But Spicy Spring Lentil Soup is warming on a cool and damp spring day like today. You can make this with either red or brown lentils. If you make it with red, they will fall apart and become more creamy. If you make it with brown they will retain more of their texture in the soup. And a couple of tips before I share my recipe: Tip #1: I never make less soup than 8 portions because almost all soups freeze beautifully. You can put it, once cooled, in either small containers or, yes folks, these really work, ziplock bags. Just make sure the seal is made.  They really do make great containers to freeze things in. Then some night when you don’t have time to cook you can put it in a pan of hot water and thaw it enough to release the soup from its bag or container.  Then heat it on the stove top or in the microwave for a satisfying supper. Tip #2: Fresh ginger is almost impossible to chop finely enough, so I put my ginger root in the freezer when I get it home from the store, and when I need some I grate it either on my trusty microplane grater or on the smallest holes of a box grater. Just make sure you grate enough as it fluffs up quite a bit when you grate it and it looks like more than it really is. You want to taste that ginger, after all. I have adapted this from Mark Bittman’s cookbook, How to Cook Everything. Spicy Spring Lentil Soup Serves 6 – 8, depending on how hungry you are 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 medium onion, chopped 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated2 medium cloves garlic, minced dash crushed red pepper flakes 1 teaspoon cumin ½ teaspoon dried thyme or a few sprigs of fresh 2 carrots, peeled and cut in ½ inch dice 1 bag brown or red lentils, rinsed and picked over for stones2 celery stalks, cut in ½ inch dice 1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes 12 cups of water, chicken or vegetable stock ½ cup chopped cilantro (or parsley if you really can’t stand cilantro, though for me I sometimes choose foods on the basis of how well they enhance cilantro rather than the other way around) In your...

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