Ancho Lentil Soup.

so…we’re back from the gluttony-filled holidays and vacations, and trying to settle back into eating habits that are a bit more moderate. and to me, nothing says moderation like lentils.

Ancho lentil soup, from theppk

Ingredients
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
2 dried ancho chilies, seeds removed and ripped into bite sized pieces

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced small
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Seranno pepper, seeded and chopped (we omitted this, but I would add it next time)
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt

2 cups green lentils, washed
7 to 8 cups broth

3 tablespoons of lime juice (we used juice from one half a lime)
6 to 8 pineapple rings

slices of lime to serve
hot sauce to serve

Directions

Preheat a small frying pan over low-medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and ancho chili pieces and toast, stirring often, until fragrant and toasted, 3 to 5 minutes.

Transfer to a spice grinder (I use a clean coffee grinder) or small food processor and grind to a coarse powder. Some bigger pieces of chili are okay. Add the coriander seeds to the cumin and anchos and pulse a few times to crush them.

Preheat a big stock pot over medium heat. Saute the onions in the olive oil until transparent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the serrano and garlic and cook for another minute. Add the spices and stir. Add the bay leaves, salt, lentils and 7 cups of broth. Mix well. Bring up the heat, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling lower heat to low-medium and let simmer for 1/2 an hour, stirring every now and again.

Meanwhile, preheat a broiler. Cook on one side for 3 minutes and the other for about 2, until pineapple begins to brown and slightly carmelize.

Once the lentils are tender, add an extra cup of water/stock if you think it needs thinning. Add the lime juice and stir.

Remove the bay leaf. Use an immersion blender to puree about half the soup. If you don’t have an immersion blender, use a potato masher to mash it up a bit, until desired thickness is achieved. Taste for salt.

To serve: ladle into bowls and top with a pineapple ring, a slice of lime and dot with hot sauce.

This turned out pretty nicely for us. I did a couple things askew of the recipe – I didn’t mash the lentils up much, leaving the soup brothy. Also, the pineapple garnish, while fine, didn’t really blow me away. Still, a rather simple soup that was pretty enjoyable.

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