Tag Archives: soup

Curried Red Lentil Soup


This soup, another little number from the America’s Test Kitchen Quick Family Cookbook, is so good and so easy. They don’t use the word “quick” in that cookbook title lightly–those folks mean business!

I originally decided to put this soup on the menu because we had some red lentils sitting around that have been in the pantry since we lived in Delaware (!). Why yes, we moved to Chicago going on 4 years ago. So yes, that would make these lentils at least 4 years old . . . if not 5 . . . or 6 . . . but I didn’t die, so case closed. Let bygones be bygones. Better a lentil saved than a lentil wasted. Let the old lentils rest in peace in their final place of digestion. Let anyone who has objections speak never and forever hold their peace, amen and amen. It is better to have eaten and loved than to never have eaten at all. Don’t take no wooden lentils. You can lead a mouth to lentils, but you can’t make it eat.

I just got completely lost . . . where were we?

Anyway, after looking at the short ingredient list I thought, “this will probably be okay. Not awesome, not bad–just okay.” And I was (heh heh) okay with that.

But my premature diagnosis was wrong. I LOVED it! The flavors are simple and clean but also deeper than you would expect considering the quick cooking time.

Make it! Especially after a cold day out and about.


It will warm you to the very cockles of your feet.

What are cockles?

Nobody every explained.



Serves 2-3

1 cup red lentils, rinsed
4 cups vegetable broth
2 TBS butter
1 onion, chopped finely
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBS grated fresh ginger
1 TBS curry powder
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 TBS minced cilantro
½ cup plain yogurt
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Microwave the lentils and 2 cups of broth about 8 minutes, until liquid is mostly absorbed.

2. Melt the butter in a large pot. Add the chopped onion and cook for 5 minutes, until softened, stirring occasionally and adding salt and pepper as it cooks. Add the garlic, ginger and curry powder, and stir for 30 seconds.

3. Add the microwaved lentil mixture to the pot along with the rest of the broth and the tomatoes. Simmer for 15 minutes. Taste and re-season as needed.

4. Serve the individual portions with a dollop of yogurt and a sprinkle of cilantro. Enjoy!


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Quick and Easy Black Bean Soup

During my post-holiday blues, I used cooking to drown out my sorrows. I didn’t plan it that way consciously, but as a new day dawned and I had to wrangle up something to occupy my mind and take it off my achy heart, cooking was a natural direction to head. After my morning coffee and Bible time, I opened up a cookbook and dreamed away. What did my taste buds want to experience that evening? Something deep and smoky? Light and bright? Comfort food or something a little more razzle-dazzle? After making a grocery list for the day and traipsing down to the Devon Market (which is so conveniently located right next to our apartment), I spread out my goodies on the kitchen counter and gazed with pleasure at the bower of cilantro, the neatly ranged cans of beans, and the glorious meaty pink of salmon fillets.

Having long kitchen projects with multiple courses involved was so therapeutic! And it was also a useful (and necessary) thing to put my hand to since we had our friend Tyler in town, my brother-in-law staying with us, and a couple dinner parties lined up. So I focused my efforts on flank steak, salsas, soups, fish, and threw together bacon omelets on a whim.

With pauses of course to care for this little thang.

Who, incidentally, put on her fussiest behavior especially for her Uncle Tyler!

Yup. She was a basket of neediness, that delightful little stinker.

Hey! I will fuss WHERE I want, WHEN I want, hear me?

And–back to food–in case you haven’t noticed my recent recipe posts, yes, I’m officially obsessed with soups. Namely the ones in the America’s Test Kitchen Quick Family Cookbook. This one graced the table accompanied by rice, honey-lime salmon and freshly made toasts. I love a good bean soup, and what sets this one apart is the rich, smoky, meaty flavor of Spanish chorizo. Mmmmmm.

It’s quick to throw together, so grab a can opener and a sharp knife, and make ye this soup!


(Serves 4-6)

4-15 oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups chicken broth
8 oz Spanish chorizo sausage, diced
1 onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 TBS vegetable oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp chili powder
1 bunch green onions, minced
½ cup minced cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Process 2 cups of black beans and 1 cup of broth in a blender until smooth.

2. In a large pot or Dutch oven, combine the oil, sausage, onion and bell pepper and heat over medium high. Cook until vegetables are slightly browned (about 7 minutes).

3. Add the garlic and spices to the pot and cook for about 30 seconds, until fragrant.

4. Add the broth, beans and blended broth/beans to the pot, stirring together and scraping up any browned bits from the bottom.

5. Simmer for 15 minutes, taste, and re-season if needed.

6. Stir in the cilantro and green onions and serve hot! Garnish with hot sauce and crusty bread or croutons if desired.

Click here for printer-friendly version: Quick and Easy Black Bean Soup