I'm not one to promote a recipe simply based on length of cooking time, because I love the meditative nature of slower dishes, but if there's one notable characteristic of this soup aside from the comfort and deliciousness it provides, it's the short amount of time it takes to make. Somewhere between a soup and a stew, this is my ideal winter meal and I make a large pot of it every couple of weeks and happily eat leftovers for days.
Lentils are a great source of iron, protein, fiber and magnesium. I use red lentils in this soup, for their color and because they break down quickly during cooking which lends a great texture to the soup, but yellow lentils work as well.
The preserved lemon rind is optional in this recipe, but if you have some on hand and love lemons, it's a nice addition. This soup, like most soups, is wonderful up to a week after it's made, and freezes well.
1 cup red or yellow lentils, rinsed
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 large carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 one inch piece of ginger, finely grated (about 1 tablespoon total)
2 teaspoons yellow curry powder (I like frontier organic)
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
4-6 cups chicken or veggie broth
1 can full fat coconut milk (13.5 oz. can)
1 can whole tomatoes (13.5 oz. can)
1 bunch curly or lacinto kale, ribs removed, torn into bite sized pieces
1 package frozen peas
1/2 preserved lemon rind, finely minced (optional)
large handful fresh parsley and cilantro
sour cream or plain yogurt
Heat olive oil over medium heat in large pot, add diced celery, onions, and carrots. Season with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Cook over medium heat for 5-8 minutes, until onions are translucent. Add minced garlic, grated ginger, and dried spices, continue cooking for a couple minutes, stirring frequently. The spices will begin to stick to the bottom of the pan, this is fine, just keep the heat low enough to prevent burning.
Add 4 cups of the broth, stirring to scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pot, then add the rinsed lentils and canned tomatoes, including the tomato juices. Use your hands to crush the whole tomatoes into bite size pieces. Season with a few more pinches salt, then cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until vegetables are tender and lentils are falling apart and becoming part of the broth. Add can of coconut milk. Once the coconut milk is dispersed, add more broth if you'd like a thinner consistency. If you're using preserved lemon rind, add it now.
Add the frozen peas and kale, cook for a minute or until the peas are heated through and the kale is just wilted. Taste for salt and add more as needed. At this point, you can stir in the chopped cilantro and parsley, or simply top each bowl with a large handful of chopped herbs- I like to stir some in and also top each bowl with fresh herbs. Can be served as is, but is especially delicious topped with sour cream or plain yogurt, a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice, and aleppo or crushed red pepper flakes.