I'm not a summer soup person, and you generally won't find soup on the menu around our house until the first frost. The weather isn't even remotely cold here yet and I'm still wearing shorts, but for some reason I had a craving for this stew from The Occasional Vegetarian, by Karen Lee.
I love stews with lots of flavor, and this is definitely in that category. Lentils are a great way to get protein since they have the second highest protein content of any legume, and they are also rich in iron, fiber, and other important nutrients. Always rinse your lentils and pick out any stones or bad pieces before cooking them. I pour the dry lentils into a bowl and cover with water, allowing it to sit for about 5 to 10 minutes, then drain and rinse again.
You can make the spicy oil, or you can skip that step and add curry paste to the soup while cooking. Either way, you end up with a delicious, healthy, hearty meal. I serve this with dollops of plain yogurt on top. There's something about having a lentil stew with curry flavors ... it just begs for some yogurt.
Add more water if you prefer a soupy consistency. Since our bell peppers are staying green and not turning yellow or red, I used green peppers from our garden.
You can substitute curry paste for the spiced oil. I use Mae Ploy yellow curry paste. Add the paste to the pot with the other ingredients. Start with a teaspoon and allow to simmer for a few minutes. Add more as you like.
[Updated December 30, 2011.]
Curried Lentil and Potato Stew
- 6 to 8-quart pot
- small sauce pan
- 1½ cups lentils (rinsed and drained)
- 1 red or yellow bell pepper (cut into 1-inch squares)
- 2 medium red or yellow potatoes (cubed)
- 2 carrots (cut into small bites)
- 1 large yellow onion (cut into 1-inch pieces)
- 2 celery stalks (cut into small bites)
- ¼ cup gluten-free soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 cups vegetable stock
- plain fat free yogurt (optional, or vegan alternative)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin (preferably roasted)
- In the pot, add the lentils, bell pepper, potatoes, carrots, onion, celery, soy sauce, pepper, and bay leaf. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, warm the oil in a small saucepan over low heat, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add the ginger, turmeric, and cumin. Stir and set aside.
- When the stew is cooked, stir in the spiced oil. Season with salt and additional pepper, if needed. Remove the bay leaf. Serve hot with a dollop of yogurt on top.