Monday, September 29, 2014

Spicy Carrot & Red Lentil Soup with Harissa

Most lentil soups fall into one of two categories: highly spiced, or not spiced —sometimes called bland. This one sits very happily at the spicy end with the harissa adding a tolerable amount of heat and a wonderful complexity of flavour. A hearty, thick and satisfying soup, the ground cumin, coriander and allspice add a robust note to this delicious low fat soup, and a spoonful of Canadian maple syrup provides a delicate hint of sweetness. The perfect potage for chilly nights, even the vibrant golden hue shouts Autumn.

Spicy Carrot & Red Lentil Soup with Harissa
Serves 4

2 tbsp butter
1 cup chopped onion
1 lb carrots, peeled and cut into a small 1/2-inch dice
1 cup split red lentils
1 tbsp harissa
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper, to taste

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté for 2 minutes. Mix in the carrots, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and allspice, and sauté for about 6-8 minutes, until the vegetables start to soften and the spices become fragrant. Add the lentils, harissa and broth. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the carrots and the lentils are cooked through, about 20 minutes.

Remove the soup from the heat and purée with an immersion blender or in a blender, until smooth. Return the puréed soup to the pot and stir in the maple syrup, lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Reheat the soup over medium-low heat, if needed. To serve, ladle the soup into pre-warmed bowls, and garnish with a swirl of light cream or yogurt.