I know my friends in Arizona can't imagine a hot soup this time of year, but it's a possibility here in Poland. I've always loved lentils - not only because of the flavor, their fast cooking is great for those of us who don't plan ahead. I've never used red lentils before, so it was nice to find this smaller variety cooks even faster than my usual green or brown lentils.
They lose their beautiful red during cooking taking on a creamy golden color. The hue in the soup is coming from the pureed red pepper and the chorizo.
I've adapted this recipe from Ginger Beat, a well written blog and great source of vegetarian recipes.
1 cup red lentils
5 cups water
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 small onion, diced
4 ounces Spanish chorizo, diced (optional, omit for vegetarian)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 roasted red bell peppers, (mine were from a jar)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 Knorr bullion cube, vegetable or chicken
2 cups fresh spinach leaves (or 2 ounces frozen)
- Sort through the lentils, removing any debris, rinse
- Add lentils and water to a saucepan, cover and bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cook for 20 minutes.
- Just before the lentils are done, add oil, red pepper flakes, onion, and chorizo (if you're using it) to a large skillet or dutch oven. Cook for a few minutes, then add garlic, cooking until garlic just begins to brown.
- Puree roasted red bell peppers.
- Add cooked lentils, pureed bell peppers, salt, black pepper, and bullion cube (slightly mushed to help it dissolve faster) to oil mixture, simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add spinach and cook until fresh spinach leaves are wilted (if using frozen, of course, cook until spinach is thawed and soup has returned to a simmer.)