It has been a dry, dry winter. All around me are parched brown hills that are normally verdant this time of year. This has not escaped my husband’s notice either. He keeps a close eye on precipitation totals every winter as we rely on spring-fed water tanks to support a small parcel in a semi-rural part of the coast. Over the years, he has put together quite the sophisticated system and has not once run out of water. Mother Nature may answer to no one but she has heard our quiet pleas each year. Still, he worries.
Despite the arid winter conditions, crisp, chilly nights also call for big steaming bowls of soup. I had lentils on my mind recently and this meal in a bowl is what I came up with given the contents of my pantry and refrigerator. The turmeric and curry powder infuse so much boldness into the dish that it belies its ease of preparation.
It is a hearty soup, too. The lentils and potatoes give it body–I might even suggest that you don’t even need the chicken (or as much of it). It is truly that comforting and filling. Served alongside a crusty baguette, you will have all you need to warm you on a winter evening, or in the case of my husband, free you from rainfall worries even for just a little while.
Curried Lentil Soup
- 2 chicken breast halves, cut in bite size pieces
- 1/2 cup red lentils
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 3 small turnips, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 small potatoes, chopped
- 5 cups stock (I used chicken)
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- salt and pepper, to taste
- no-salt seasoning (optional)
- Season chicken with salt, pepper and salt-free seasoning. Cook lightly in olive oil over medium heat, remove from pot and set aside.
- In the same pot and using the same oil that the chicken was browned in, cook the onions until they’re translucent then add the rest of the vegetables. vegetables. Cook them for a few minutes.
- Add the turmeric and curry powder. Stir with the vegetables until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
- Add the lentils, the browned chicken and 5 cups stock and simmer for about 35 -45 minutes or until lentils and veggies are tender. Ladle into bowls and top w/ cilantro or parsley.