Thursday, September 18, 2014

Mexican Style Lentil Soup

Mexican Style Lentil Soup

After a month without posting due to a quick trip to Mexico to visit my mother in law and the visit of my only cousin from Argentina who I haven't seen for at least 20 years... August is gone, and I don't know where.

The trip to Mexico deserves its own post, which I'll do later but today here in Vancouver it looks and feels like Fall. To me, as much as I love the sun (and dislike heat) Fall has some sort of magic which I feel is unique. Here we love to complain about the rain, but honest...if not what else would be complaining about? This place is as close to paradise as it can be.

Fall is back to my kitchen. I'm still doing some gardening -moving things here and there- and...fighting bamboo! Yes, I AM the last Bamboo Fighter (post to come)... so as today it's raining and I have a group of students coming at 4, so I had time to bake a fantastic looking old fashion apple cake which looks amazing but I haven't tasted it just yet and I wanted to get back to my blog.

The current wife loves lentils and as I love the wife...this week I cooked for her Mexican Style Lentil Soup. The wife had 3 teeth fixed at the dentist and pretty much couldn't eat any solid food...because I am such an angel... I prepared this for her.

Lentil soup is comfort food. In Mexico we eat it year round and each family has its own recipe that most likely came from a family elder. My mother (Argentinian) prepared it with pork feet (I know...) and the current wife's mom did it with chorizo, so I am doing it with chorizo because I want to please her and because I think that pork feet taste nice but look awful (they look awful).

Mexican Style Lentil Soup
Cooking Time: 60 minutes Feeds 4 hungry people


Ingredients

250 g Green lentils

1 l Water

100 g Chorizo (Mexican is the best for this recipe)

1 Large Tomato

1 Large Carrot -cubed-

1 Laurel leaf

1 Large Potato -cubed-

150 g Finely chopped onion (about 1/4 of a large onion)

2 Garlic cloves cut in thin slices

1 Piece of toasted bread (dry, not soft)

- Canola Oil

- Kosher Salt

Instructions

1. Peel the carrot and the potato and cube them in small pieces. Reserve

2. Cut the chorizo in 1 cm slices (doesn't need to be exactly 1 cm !)

3. Clean the lentils using cold water and in a large pot, medium heat put them to cook with the water. Do not put the pot lid on!!

4. Add the tomato and the laurel leaf after about 15 minutes (the tomato is whole)

5. When the water with the lentils is boiling, lower the heat to simmer and add the chorizo, carrot and potatoes. Leave it simmering for for approx. 45 minutes (by then they should be soft but not breaking apart...if they are still a bit hard, leave them for intervals of 5 minutes and check them to see when are they ready). Stir occasionally.

6.  In a medium pan heat the oil and fry the onion and the garlic until the onions are a bit clear and the garlic looks a bit toasted.

7. Add the toasted bread, bring the heat to high and let the onion golden allowing the bread to absorb the flavor. 

8. Add the bread, onions and garlic to our lentils and we mix gently -we don't want lentil smoothie-. By now the lentils should be perfect (soft but whole). They should have some liquid broth as we don't want them like paste. If they are too thick, add a bit of water (a bit!). At the end we want a soup that has a bit of broth and tons of lentils.

9. Remove the laurel leaf. 

10. We are ready to serve!..some weird people (like my wife) likes to slice a banana on top of the lentil soup as they (she) claim that enhances the flavor. I never contradict the wife -survival instinct they call it-. The fact that she adds ketchup I'm not going to mention because I am a discrete guy.

11. Enjoy!


* Photo from Enriqueta Lemoine's fantastic cooking site SavorFaire (the recipe is mine though)... I forgot to take my own picture... next time.