Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Heidi's Farro Soup with Curry Powder, Black Lentils and Salted Lemon Yogurt

I consider myself a soup aficionado and a connoisseur. I love it chilled, hot, spicy, thick and stew-like and yes, even consommé. For a long time my favorite soup was Black Bean, heavy on the cumin. I made it several times a month and even large batches seemed to disappear within a day or two of being made. Then Heidi Swanson's Summer Squash with Thai Curry Paste and Tofu Croutons got into the mix. Only to be followed by a Cauliflower Soup with Mustard Croutons and my perennial favorite, Pesto-Minestrone.
Now I've got a new soup in my rotation...
It's another Heidi Swanson recipe, this one for Farro Soup with Curry Powder, Lentils and Salted Lemon Yogurt. It's delicious, so don't let my photograph fool you (I don't think it does the soup justice). 
I've got good soup recipes, and very good ones too. This one, however, falls into the excellent category. And will be a heavy hitter this winter.  
It's incredible easy to make and it took me under 20 minutes to prepare. The soup simmers for 45-50 minutes, but that's hands-off time. And when it's done simmering, you'll probably agree that nothing is nicer on a chilly night than this soup...and a glass of wine.  
On a totally unrelated note, I read an interesting piece in the New York Times last week. The article questioned whether cookbooks would survive the rising popularity of digital media like e-books and recipe apps (applications, not appetizers). Would cookbooks go obsolete? I don't have the answer and only time will tell. But I can tell you that I am getting that seasonal-itch. You know the one that kind of surfaces right around the holidays and compels you to buy another 10 cookbooks because, well, who doesn't need more cookbooks? 
I love looking through great cookbooks--the ones with gorgeous photographs and tantalizing recipes. The ones with dog-eared pages, scribbles in the margin and sauce pocks on the page. Know what I mean? You just don't get that from a digital cookbook. 
But back to Heidi's soup, which comes from one of my favorite cookbooks...
Farro Soup with Curry Powder, Lentils and Salted Lemon Yogurt (Courtesy of Heidi Swanson, Super Natural Every Day)
Serves 8
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
2 large yellow onions, chopped
1 cup peeled, diced sweet potato or winter squash
Fine-grain sea salt
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons Indian curry powder
2/3 cup semi-pearled farro
1 1/4 cups green or black lentils, picked over and rinsed
6 cups vegetable broth or water (I went with low-sodium broth)
1 cup plain yogurt of Greek-style yogurt or creme fraiche (I've used both)
Grated zest and juice of 1/2 lemon, or to taste

Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Stir in the onions and sweet potato. Add a big pinch of salt and saute until the onions soften a bit, a couple of minutes.
Add the curry powder; stir until onions and sweet potatoes are coated and the curry is fragrant, a minute or so.
Add the farro, lentils and 6 cups of the broth broth. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer, covered, for 25 minutes. (I used semi-pearled farro and it took me 45 minutes for the soup to cook.  Then I let it sit in the dutch oven, covered, and off-heat for another 15 minutes.)
Taste and season with more salt, if needed. (Don't under-salt or the soup will taste flat.) While the soup is cooking, in a small bowl, stir together the yogurt, lemon zest and juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Serve each bowl of soup topped with a dollop of lemon yogurt and a drizzle of olive oil.

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Happy Thanksgiving! 
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