1/4tspAleppo pepper or 1/4 paprika and 1/8 cayenne
Red Lentil Soup
1cupfinely diced onions
1/4cupgrated gingerplus 1 Tbls divided
2Tbls grated garlicabout 4 cloves
2cupsgrated carrot (2–4 carrots depending on the size)
1tspAleppo pepper or 1 tsp paprika and 1/4 tsp cayenne
3tblssweet red pepper pasteor 1 red pepper from a jar, blended to a puree
4tspssweet white miso or chickpea misooptional
8cupsvegetable stock or waterpreferably hot
Splash of apple cider vinegaroptional, just before serving, about 1 Tbls
Wash and peel the potatoes, Cut into bite size cubes. Usually this is cutting the potato into 8–10 pieces. Rinse and drain the cubes, then place the potatoes in a 2–4 qt. pot. Sprinkle a light coat of all of the spices listed for the potatoes, mix well and set aside.
On a large white plate, pour a 1/2 cup at a time of the red lentils and check for non-lentil particles. Move to the side of the plate and add 1/2 cup more, repeat until the 2 cups have been checked. Place in a strainer, and set aside. It is better to rinse and drain right before adding to the pan because the lentils will clump together.
Heat the pan to medium-high. Test the pot heat by putting a few onion pieces. The pot is ready if you hear a sizzle, the color changes quickly and the onions will jump about the pan. Put the onions in the pan and let cook a few minutes until they start to become translucent (3–5 minutes).
Clear an area in the center of the pot and add the grated ginger. With the edge of the wooden spatula push the ginger down to form a layer. When it starts to stick and becomes fragrant (about 1–2 minutes) stir in with the onion.
Clear an area again in the center of the pot and add the grated garlic. With the edge of the wooden spatula push the garlic down to form a layer. When it starts to stick and becomes fragrant (about 1–2 minutes) stir in with the onion and ginger.
And one more time, clear an area in the pan and add the dried spices next. Allow to toast and become fragrant (about 1 minute). then stir in with the onion ginger garlic mixture.
If the pan looks dry, add a 2–3 tablespoons of water and stir to lift up some of the mixture that is sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Stir in the grated carrot.
Add the sweet red pepper paste and mix in with the rest of the ingredients in the pot.
Stir in the miso if using.
Rinse and drain the lentils, then add to the pot and stir well to coat with the whole mixture.
Pour in 2 cups of the vegetable stock or water mix well. Let cook a few minutes.
In the meantime, add the 3 cups of water to the spiced potatoes, bring to a boil, lower the heat and let simmer stirring occasionally until the potatoes are done (a toothpick goes easily through or taste one). They are usually ready about 15 minutes after lowering the heat and around the same time as the soup. If ready before, turn off the heat and remove from burner until the soup is ready.
Continuing with the soup, pour in the rest of the water 1 cup at a time and stir after each addition. Place the lid on, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat medium low and let simmer for 20–30 minutes.
Check the lentils after 20 minutes. The lentils should be soft when done. This is also a good time to taste to see what if anything needs to be added.
Once the lentils are soft enough, you can blend a portion of the soup. If using an immersion blender, place the immersion in the soup and make sure the blade part is totally immersed in the soup liquid and blend in the same spot for a few seconds at a time. Continue until the soup becomes the consistency you like.
If using a blender, ladle out 2 cups and put in the blender, allow to cool a few minutes before putting the lid on and blending. Put the lid on, while holding the lid down with a towel, blend until smooth then pour back in the soup pot.
Just before you serve add the splash of apple cider vinegar and the extra tablespoon of grated ginger to the whole pot and taste again or add a few drops to each individual serving. Add more vinegar and/or ginger if desired.
To serve, ladle into cups or bowls and add as many potato cubes as you like to each serving. For an added hit of piquant, sprinkle with a little Aleppo or cayenne.
SOS Free Version: Leave out the miso. The apple cider vinegar at the end wakes it up. Enjoy!