Snow Storm + Subzero Temperatures = Chickpea and Lentil Soup
Yes, more soup for the New Year, but I couldn't resist...we are stuck in the house recovering from the first New England snow storm in 2014. As much as they said we were going to get 12-18 inches of snow, I think we missed it by about 6 inches. As we clean up from this storm, everyone was coming in FROZEN. With temperatures in the single digits, it takes a while to warm up.
While Jeff was recovering from the first round of shoveling, I grabbed a bag of lentils and a can of chickpeas. I went to my laptop and ran a Google search on Lentil and Chickpea soup. Up popped a recipe from Food and Wine called Chickpea and Lentil Soup. I looked at the ingredients and figured I had most of them in the pantry. It seemed easy and I could warm people up quickly. One (big) issue, it called for 1/8 teaspoon of turmeric. I searched through the spice cabinet and we didn't have any. I wasn't sure I could find a substitute but I looked for a substitute and it said I could use saffron. Perfect! I had a small jar of saffron...everything else should be easy. Some onions and celery, a few spices, dried lentils, diced tomatoes and some chickpeas. I was ready to go.
I wanted something hearty with a little bit of spice and this was perfect. In less than 30 minutes, we were enjoying bowlfuls of this delicious chickpea and lentil soup. Jeff and my son, Brian, ate the first bowls and thought it was perfect. Brian kept trying to figure out what the smell was...which was the combination of the saffron, tomatoes, ginger, cinnamon, cilantro and lemon. When you have a mix like that, the smell is strong but equally as flavorful. I couldn't wait to have a bowl. The lentils were soft and the chick peas had more solid texture, the broth was amazing as I thought the smell of cilantro was the strongest. I love cilantro, I could have it in all my food. But for those who don't care for it, feel free to substitute parsley, the flavors will still blend well.
If you are looking for a soup that is strong on flavor, will satisfy most appetites and diets, yes, this is vegetarian, try making a bowl of Chickpea and Lentil Soup. You won't be disappointed!
Ingredients for Chickpea and Lentil Soup
2 tablespoons of butter
1 medium onion, chopped into 1 inch pieces
2 celery stalks, chopped into 1 inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon of powdered ginger
1/8 teaspoon of crushed saffron threads
1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon
1-1/2 teaspoons of salt
1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
1 cup of dried lentils
6 cups of water
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
1 (15 ounce) can of diced tomatoes, we used fire roasted
1 (15 ounce) can of chickpeas, drained
1/3 cup of cilantro, feel free to substitute parsley if you aren't a cilantro fan
2 lemon rind strips, 1 inch by 3 inches
1. In a large pot or pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and saute until the onions are translucent. About 5-8 minutes.
2. Add the lentils, and dry ingredients (ginger, cinnamon, saffron, salt and pepper) to the pan. Mix with the onions and celery for 1 minute, it will begin to smell fragrant.
3. Add the water, tomato paste, diced tomatoes and lemon rind. Bring to a boil. Then, lower heat to a simmer and cover partially with a lid. Cook for 25-30 minutes or until the lentils are soft.
4. Add the chickpeas and cilantro. Cook for an additional 5 minutes. remove from heat. Allow to rest for 5 minutes and enjoy.
5. Serves 4 - 6 people.
Written by Tricia White