This past week winter finally decided to return here in the south. Well, sort of. The highs were in the 50s, but compared to the 75 degree days we’d been having that’s chilly, right!?! Anyway, I wanted to make a soup this weekend to warm us up and was in the mood to experiment.
I make lentil soup a lot and what I love about it is that it’s easy to change up the spices and create something completely different. I decided to use red split lentils because the beautiful red-orange color called to me from the back of my pantry. I love, love the vibrant color of these. Unfortunately, when you cook them in a soup you lose that color, but in return you get a creamy, hearty, stick to your bones bowl of deliciousness. And this, my friends, is quite possibly the best lentil soup I’ve ever made. I made another pot of this today just to make sure. The cinnamon, cardamom, and black pepper combination is pure magic.
Puréed Red Lentil Soup with Cinnamon and Cardamom
2 Tbs olive oil
1 8 oz package diced ham
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, 1 chopped and 1 left whole
1 cup red split lentils, rinsed and picked over
6 cups low sodium chicken stock
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cardamom
2 sprigs thyme
- Add olive oil to warm stock pot. Add ham and sauté over medium-high heat to until browned. Remove and set aside.
- Add more oil if necessary and sauté onion until translucent. Add carrot and chopped celery and continue to sauté over medium heat until softened.
- Add lentils, stock, celery stalk, spices and thyme. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Remove celery stalk and thyme and let cool for 10-15 minutes. Purée in a blender until smooth. Warm up as necessary and serve with chopped ham.