Simplicity rules when it comes to many dishes. And, today, I was reminded of that when I made a lentil soup. I've made lentil soup many times, but admittedly I hadn't made it for some time.
When I was driving home from dropping my son off at school very early this morning, I grumbled at the pea soup weather at hand. Drizzly. Foggy. Just plain Seattle dreary. While navigating home I began to think about pea soup, chowder, lentil soup....I was cold and thought about how comforting a big bowl of soup would be around lunch time.
For whatever reason, I decided to make lentil soup and soon remembered that I had some samples of specialty lentils sitting on my recently decluttered desk. Aha! I decided to use the sample bag of Sunrise Red Zero-Tannin Lentils. The packaging didn't give many culinary details about the lentils. It just noted that they were Kosher, Non GMO, and that they were grown by the PNW Farmers Co-Op. A quick peruse through the website informed me that these lentils were special. There was no exact cooking info, but the website explained that the lentils didn't muddy the cooking water! That statement made me curious. I was soon slicing and dicing in the kitchen.
Since I was in experimentation and testing mode, I decided to keep things simple. Afterall, I didn't want to muddy the waters...I really wanted to see if the lentils met the mark. So, I diced some leek, carrot and celery and cooked that in some olive oil in my big Le Creuset. I then added the 1 cup of lentils and a couple cups of water. I simmered the mixture, slightly covered, and added extra water as needed during the 40 minute cooking period. At first, the lentils gave off a very earthy aroma. Then, as the lentils cooked the aroma softened. About halfway through the cooking process, I tasted one of the lentils--it was earthy and nutty. Then at the end of the cooking, the lentils were soft and superbly deliciously. Remarkably, when I grabbed a ladle and scooped the cooking broth, it was clear! I really couldn't believe it. I added some just-picked and sliced dinosaur kale and some sea salt. The soup was remarkably good.
After lunch I called Davidson Commodities and spoke to Matt, asking him how the lentil cooking broth could be clear. He explained that the Sunrise Red Zero Tannin Lentils have an opaque seed coat so the cooking water doesn't get muddy when the lentils cook! He also pointed out that the lentils hold their shape during cooking and that they cook into a beautiful color.
So on this dreary Seattle day, Sunrise Lentil Soup reminded me that simplicity rules!
For availability information on these lentils, click here.