Saturday, June 4, 2011

Crockpot Lentil Soup

One Monday, while on vacation in Peru, I was served a plate of lentils and told “for your good luck this week.” I didn’t think anything of it. Over the next three Mondays I’d be served with lentils cooked in some form or other, and always told it was for my good luck. So one day I asked Mari, who works at my grandma’s house, why we ate lentils every Monday, and JUST on Mondays. She told me that if you eat lentils every Monday, then you are guaranteed to have enough money in your pockets, and enough food in your belly for the rest of the week. Soon after that, I discovered that everyone in my grandma’s house subscribes to that superstition. Since then I’ve done a little digging and found out that its not just in my grandma’s house, but in all of Peru. Although this recipe did not come from my grandma, it was inspired by all the different lentil dishes I had in Peru every Monday.
Since I pureed half the batch, it’s both a smooth and chunky soup.
Oh and by the way, I ate it on a Tuesday; I wonder if it will still bring me luck.

1 pound lentils
1 cup finely chopped white onion
1 cup finely chopped carrots
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
2/3 cup finely chopped bell peppers (green, yellow, or red)
2 tsp salt
1 cup chopped tomatoes
2 quarts vegetable broth (use a bouillon if you don't have the broth)
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed coriander seeds
1/2 tsp cumin
3 large cloves garlic, smashed
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp oregano
1 bay leaf
1 tbs butter (optional)
2 tbs olive oil

Add all the vegetable ingredients to the bottom of a large crockpot, then add the spices, butter and olive oil. On top of this, add the lentils and then the broth.
Cook on high until it starts to boil, then turn to the crockpot’s lowest setting and simmer for 3 or 4 hours until the lentils break apart when mashed against the side of the pot. Season with more salt and pepper to taste.
Let the lentil soup sit for an hour to cool down.
Puree half the mixture in a blender and return it back to the crockpot and stir one final time.

Ladle soup into a soup bowl. Squeeze a little fresh lime juice on top and garnish with grated parmesan cheese, cilantro, and diced green onions.

Prepared on 2011-05-17 (Tulsa, OK), Photograph by Michael Findley


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