With the arrival of warmer weather, it's all too often that soup begins to take a back seat to its more fair weather friend, "la salade". Well, the time has come to break from traditional habits. Soup is perfectly comfortable as the days and nights warm up. In fact, if you carefully pick and choose the type of soup, it makes perfect sense as a first course for either a January or July evening dinner.
Think lighter fare when choosing what soup you plan to prepare. We're not talking about the heavy and hearty guns here, but more in the line of light and creamy soups that a simple ladle or two will suffice. Think of a light and silky scarf around your neck as you stroll through the city park on a warm Summer's eve, instead of that thick, old, and scratchy wool muffler that's been hanging in your closet that you can't wait to re-gift. Now you're beginning to envision a wonderful cream of red lentils and carrots with a light scent of ginger and golden curry as you close your eyes and your mind wanders to the sandy beaches of Panaji with subtle, warm breezes blowing in from the Arabian Sea as the Sun gives its last kiss good night.
Snap out of it! It's time to make soup and you've no time for day dreaming. Get yourself a fan and pretend. Here are the ingredients for Red Lentil and Carrot Ginger Soup:
Begin by bringing the chicken stock to a full boil in a medium to large pot. Add the carrots and the red lentils and boil for about 15 minutes uncovered over medium high heat, stirring occasionally. You will begin to see some foaming around the edges. Take a soup spoon and carefully skim this off and discard it. Reduce heat to medium and add the ginger. Cover and continue cooking for about 30 minutes or until the carrots are tender and lentils are soft to the bite. Check back occasionally and stir. Liquid should have reduced a bit and lentils should have absorbed some liquid as well.
Now transfer the carrots and lentils, along with the liquid to a food processor in 3 equal amounts and process for about 3 minutes each. Once processed, return the soup to the pot by way of straining through a fine mesh strainer. Take your time and don't rush the straining, as you want to have a silky smooth consistency. You can use a spoon to keep the mesh clear as you strain, but don't try to push it through. Any solids left in the strainer can be discarded. This process can take 10 minutes, but be patient. The finer the mesh the better.
Once the soup has been put through the strainer and back in the pot, stir in the coconut milk, the curry powder (or turmeric), salt, pepper, and honey. Make sure the cook top is reduced to low. Stir well until all ingredients are well blended. If you desire less thickness to your soup, add more cream or coconut milk and stir well. Taste for flavor and add a bit more salt if needed. Continue to cook on low for about 15 minutes until it comes to a very very low boil, all the while stirring frequently. Once it comes to a boil, cook for just about 5 more minutes, remove from heat, and melt 1 tablespoon of butter until completely blended. Serve hot with sprinkled parsley or a nob of sour cream. Settle in the back yard, hit the fan, and go back to your day dream. Enjoy!