Now that the holiday decorations have been packed away, and the homemade goodies have been consumed or distributed, it's time to refocus and return to normal eating.
It's not that the past month was comprised of over-indulgent foods (okay, it kind of was), it's just that most meals eaten in the past ten days are definitely ones relegated to the "special occasions" category of our eating plan. A little bit of extra cheese and butter now and then won't hurt anyone, but almost-daily ingestion just begs for a break, wouldn't you agree?
So we kicked off 2011 with a hearty lentil soup. One made with a handful of good-for-you ingredients regularly stocked in many a pantry and fridge. Instead of using a chicken or veggie stock for the base, this soup is made with water, wine and chickpea puree, not unlike that which hummus is made from. A slow simmer with warming spices rounds out the cooking process, and a family meal can be put together with virtually no time commitment at all.
Are you trying to eat a little healthier, and heartier, this week? What's your family eating for dinner?
Curried Lentil Soup, adapted from Bon Appetit
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 medium carrots, finely chopped
- 2 large garlic cloves, chopped, divided
- 2 tablespoons curry powder
- 1 cup green or brown lentils
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 4 1/4 cups water, divided
- 1 15- to 16-ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained, rinsed
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onion and carrots; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until onion is translucent, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Add half of chopped garlic; stir until vegetables are soft but not brown, about 4 minutes longer. Add 2 tablespoons curry powder; stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add lentils, wine and 4 cups water.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Increase heat and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium; simmer until lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, puree chickpeas, lemon juice, 1/4 cup water, remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, and remaining garlic in processor. Add chickpea puree and butter to lentil soup. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and additional curry powder, if desired. Add water by 1/4 cupfuls to thin to desired consistency.