Some of you may already know this, but this semester in addition to posting on Kinsey Cooks I’ll be contributing to the Tufts food blog, Tasty Tufts. It’s a great website full of Boston and Somerville restaurant reviews, recipes, and thoughts on eating in college. My first post (which you can find by clicking here) is the recipe for my favorite pumpkin bread, and more posts will be coming from me this semester. Anytime I have a post on Tasty Tufts, I’ll post the link here on Kinsey Cooks so that you can stay up to date with the Tufts food scene.
Happy New Year! I hope that everyone had a fantastic New Year’s Eve and is ready to begin a new year. Of course, no New Year’s celebration is complete without a few lucky foods to start the year on the right foot. Many cultures from all around the world have special dishes or meals that are often served for the New Year. Long noodles in Japan signify long life, black-eyed peas in the South are considered to be good luck, and in many parts of Spain and Latin America a dozen grapes are eaten while the clock strikes midnight.
Lentils, too, are considered to be a lucky New Year’s food, as their small coin-like shape is said to encourage prosperity in the coming year. Even if you don’t believe in superstition, lentils are so inexpensive that cooking lentils will help you save money in one way or another. This red lentil soup is the perfect meal to make tonight to begin 2014. It’s simple to make and can be completed in less than an hour due to the small red lentils that cook after just 20 minutes of simmering. To add flavor, a fragrant mixture of paprika, curry powder, turmeric, harissa, and smoked salt is added to caramelized onions and carrots to produce a simple yet satisfying meal. With a fresh salad and some warm bread to complement the gentle spices and earthy lentils, this soup is a nutritious way to start the year.
Spiced Red Lentil Soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 ½ cups diced carrots
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon smoked salt (use table salt if you don’t have any smoked salt)
1 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika (not hot)
1 teaspoon harissa paste
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon curry powder
1 ½ cups red lentils
8 cups water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and carrots and sauté until softened and golden, 8-10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and garlic and sauté until fragrant, a little under 1 minute. Add the salt, paprika, harissa, turmeric, and curry powder and sauté until fragrant and evenly mixed in, 30-45 seconds. Add the red lentils and water and stir to combine. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat so that the soup slows to a simmer. Simmer for 25-30 minutes, until the carrots and lentils are tender. Stir in the lemon juice. Adjust salt to taste, then ladle into bowls and serve with warm bread.