Lentil Soup with Chipotles

Looking for some easy meals to prepare before the holiday feast? Something to hold your stomach over until your mother in law brings in her 20lb bird? Let’s take a look at this wonder recipe from the NYT – adding some delicious chipotles to a traditional lentil soup combines some delicious, smoky flavors. Ingredients:

1 tablespoon organic canola oil

1 small organic onion or 1/2 medium, chopped

2 large organic garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons organic cumin seeds, lightly toasted and ground

1 tablespoon organic tomato paste

1 1/3 cups organic brown lentils, rinsed and picked over

6 cups water

Salt to taste

1 to 2 canned chipotles in adobo, to taste, rinsed, seeded and sliced, plus a teaspoon of the adobo sauce

Croutons or toasted tortilla chips for garnish (optional)

Cooked authentic chorizo or bacon (optional)

Directions:

1. Heat the canola oil over medium heat in a large, heavy soup pot. Add the onion. Cook, stirring, until tender, about five minutes. Add the garlic, cumin and tomato paste. Cook, stirring, until the mixture is fragrant, 30 seconds to a minute. Stir in the lentils and water, add salt to taste (1 to 2 teaspoons) and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the lentils are very tender, about 50 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.

2. Using a hand blender, coarsely purée the soup, or purée half the soup in batches in a blender. (Make sure to remove the stopper from the blender lid and hold a towel tightly down over the top to avoid hot splashes.) Stir the blended soup back into the pot, and combine well. Add the chipotles, and heat through. Taste and adjust seasonings. Garnish each serving with croutons or toasted tortilla chips if desired.

Yield: Serves four to six.

Advance preparation: The soup will keep for three to four days in the refrigerator. It will taste spicier over time.