I’m finally learning to make soup in a batches appropriate for our small household rather than enough to feed the neighborhood. It’s tricky because when chopping just one onion or just 2 carrots, it seems like it will never be enough to make a batch of soup. It will be.
That said, if you want to double the ingredients for this soup, you will have an extra quart for the freezer. It reheats beautifully. Use either “lite” or regular coconut milk.
1 tablespoon neutral oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, lightly smashed and peeled
2 medium carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup red lentils, picked over
3 cups water
1 12-ounce can coconut milk
1 tablespoon, scant, Sunchoke or White Miso
In a 3-quart saucepan, heat the oil until it shimmers. Add the onion, stir well, and cook until translucent, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and stir, then cook about 30 seconds until the garlic is fragrant and sweet. Don’t let it brown. Add the carrot and celery, stir well, and cook another 5 minutes or so until the vegetables collapse a little. Stir in the salt, cumin, smoked paprika, and black pepper.
Add the lentils, stir to coat them in all the good things in the pot, then pour in the water. Bring the soup to a simmer, cover and cook for 25 minutes at a regular, but slow, simmer until the lentils are tender.
Stir in the coconut milk, bring back to a slow boil stirring all the while. When the soup is nice and hot, finish it with the miso, swirling it around.
At this point, you could put the soup in your blender and puree it. You could put half the soup in the blender and have a chunky-pureed hybrid. Or you can eat it as is (but find and remove that garlic clove). Isn’t soup great?
Serve piping hot in wide bowls. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves. if you have any. (I didn’t.)