My Mimi is quite the lentil soup connoisseur. In the past I have brought her certain upscale store-bought lentil soup and she loves it. This recipe, however, would not get the stamp of approval from Mimi because a) it’s too spicy, and b) it has curry in it. Although these ingredients are a no no for Mimi, for me, they are a must and they really make this dish! If you like lentil beans, spicy curry, and comfort food, this is the recipe for you! You can serve this as a hearty soup or serve it over basmati rice as an entree. If you do prefer a more mild version, just substitute a mild curry powder and leave out the cayenne and red pepper flakes.
3 tbsp olive oil
1 (13.5oz) can of coconut milk
1 quart chicken stock
2 and 1/4 cups of water
3 carrots, peeled and diced
3 medium celery stalks, diced
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves minced garlic
2 slices of uncooked diced bacon, (use 4 slices if it’s a less fatty bacon).
2 cups of lentils, picked over and rinsed
1 tsp dried thyme
1 (14.5 oz) can fire roasted diced tomatoes, drained
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and ground black pepper to taste
3 tbsp spicy curry powder
2 tbsp japanese red pepper flakes ( or regular red pepper flakes)
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp garam masala(Indian spice mixture that is available at the food co-op, however if you can’t find it in stores, here is a link to the spice blend recipe: http://indianfood.about.com/od/masalarecipes/r/garammasala.htm).
1 tsp ground cumin
Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-low heat. Add the carrots, celery, onion, garlic, and bacon. Cook until tender but not browned, about 7-10 minutes. Stir in chicken stock, water, coconut milk, lentils, diced tomatoes, thyme, red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, curry powder, garam masala, and cumin. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer on low for about 45 minutes. Make sure lentils are tender. Stir in vinegar. Taste and then add salt and pepper to your liking. Make sure to taste before adding salt, as the bacon will have cooked down and rendered its salty flavorful goodness to the soup! Garnish to your liking and enjoy!!
Serves: 10 cups