It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in the Bay Area – in ways both good and, well… otherwise. People really get into the spirit up here, and in the absence of leaves on the trees (which I thoroughly enjoyed watching fall – we don’t get much of that back in San Diego) there are beautiful lights and decorations as far as the eye can see. On the other hand, the weather is plunging in to a realm that just doesn’t exist where I’m from! I still shouldn’t really complain. It doesn’t even snow here, but compared to winter in San Diego, even 45 degrees is brutal. Which brings us to curry lentil soup!
When I initially made this soup it was in a slightly different form: packaged in mason jars for Christmas gifts 2 years ago (seen here, far right). For my not so foodie friends, I like to make edible gifts either instantly edible (i.e. cookies, candy) or easily prepared (i.e. throw it in a pot with water, boil, consume). So for this soup literally everything but the water was included in the jar. And it was good just like that. Me being me, however, when I’m not making this for a gift-in-a-jar I opt for fresh onions and garlic, as well as homemade chicken stock.
Did I mention I love lentils? If you don’t, you just might after eating this soup. It’s thick, hearty, and slightly spicy in that wonderful warming kind of way. It’s also super easy. Served with a rustic bread, curry lentil soup makes me feel as if I could get through any harsh Bay Area winter. It’s not even officially winter yet. Oh my. I better stock up on blankets…
Curry Lentil Soup
This recipe is for the gift-in-a-jar version. If giving as a gift, simply pack all the dry ingredients in a mason jar (I like to add the lentils in alternating sections for visual value), attach the method section to the jar and you're done! If you're making this at home and want to jazz it up a bit, use one diced yellow onion in place of the dried onion, and two minced cloves of garlic in place of garlic powder. Saute the onion with a pinch of salt in a little olive oil until translucent, add the garlic and spices, cook for a minute, and then add the broth & lentils.
- 9 oz green lentils (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 9 oz red lentils (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 2 tablespoons dried minced onion
- 2 tablespoons dried parsley
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 dried California chile pepper
- 8 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock, or water + more as needed
- olive oil, for serving (optional)
- Pour contents of the jar into a medium pot with 8 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock, or water. Remove the red pepper if you don't want a spicy soup.
- Bring to a boil over high heat, cover, and reduce heat to medium. Simmer for 25 minutes. Remove lid and take out the pepper and bay leaf.
- Allow the soup to continue simmering, uncovered, for an additional 20-30 minutes, until the lentils are soft and the soup has thickened. You may want to add more liquid as it cooks.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper. Finish each serving with a drizzle of olive oil, if desired.