I’m on a mission the next few weeks to use up some of the dry goods and pantry staples that seem to be like Gremlins in our cupboard. I use them and use them and their supplies never seem to diminish! The last quart of red lentils has been lingering for far too long and I’ve been determined to get them gone. I’ve made red lentil soups before for this blog but this one has a spicy kick to it. All the flavors of chili without the meat. As I’ve said before, I don’t wanna hear it from the chili purists who rabidly defend what they think their version of chili is – meat only, beans only. Goodness. As a vegetarian, this is mine. Spicy, smoky with as much heat as you desire. Certainly amp up the spice and seasonings for this recipe as you see fit. A spoonful of sour cream and some tortilla chips on the side made this an awesome meal.
While I’m at it, I want to say how excited I am that last week’s Saturday Soup has made it into the finals of Fine Cooking’s Soup Week Challenge. Posting a soup every week has been a lot of fun and, at times, challenging…so to have a recipe recognized is a big treat. Winner takes home a 7 quart Emile Henry soup pot, some Fine Cooking swag and – most importantly – bragging rights. If you haven’t yet, I’d appreciate the vote. Voting ends Monday 3/7 at 9 am EST!
Red Lentil Chili – serves 4 as a light entree
– In a large stock pot, head up the grapeseed oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the carrots and onions and saute until they start to soften – about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the diced chili or jalapeno and saute for another 1-2 minutes. Add in the lentils and stir to combine. Pour in the water and add the tomatoes, tomato paste, smoked paprika, brown sugar, cumin and hot sauce. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer until the vegetables and lentils are cooked – about 25 minutes. This will also depend on the freshness of your lentils. If you need to add more liquid during the cooking process – or want a thinner texture – do so. Just adjust the spice/heat level accordingly. Before serving, salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with chopped green onions and serve. This soup also stores beautifully in an airtight container.