Thursday, January 24, 2013

Sweet Potato Lentil Soup

I have this problem where I hate being hot in the summer and I hate being cold in the winter. If it weren't for spring and fall, I'd be miserable year-round. Thank you, spring and fall. Keep being you.

Boston is a cold and windy city during the winter months. This is no secret, and I knew the challenges that were before me when I decided to move here.

I bought heavy duty snow boots, big fluffy ear muffs, a down coat, wool socks, and lots of scarves. Consider it my cold city survival kit. It helps on the surface. I can actually bear to go outside for more than a few seconds.

When I come inside, however, it is this soup that warms me to my core and restores order in my universe.

So, let me first tell you guys about my mom. She's a great lady. Really supportive and all that jazz. But when she asked me what I was cooking, and I told her "Sweet Potato Lentil Soup!" She responded, without missing a beat:

 "Ewwwww what! Lol...Can't even imagine lentils with sweet potatoes." That's verbatim. 5 w's in her "ew."

Please don't be like my mother. Try this soup, it's SO good. (And good for you!)

A bit of chili powder and generous amounts of cracked black pepper give a little extra spice in the back of your throat, while sweet potatoes and toasted coconut adds sweetness and depth. A dollop of Greek yogurt and fresh ginger root give this soup tang and body. Sweet and spicy: yet another match made in heaven.

It's all quite simple really. We start by preparing our vegetables. Diced onion and celery, peeled and diced sweet potatoes.

The veggies go into a pot with melted butter to soften. Season with salt and pepper.

Add in a clove of garlic and a generous amount of grated ginger. Chili powder is stirred into the vegetables along with a whole bag lentils.

Then the liquids go in--chicken or vegetable stock and water. Let the soup simmer away until the potatoes are soft and the lentils are tender.

In the meantime, coconut flakes get toasted in a 350 degree oven until slightly browned and crispy on the edges. Amazing!

To serve, ladle the soup into big bowls and add a dollop of plain non-fat Greek yogurt. Swirl the yogurt into the soup and sprinkle coconut flakes on top! This meal is so filling and comforting, and the flavors are out of this world.

Here's what you need for Sweet Potato Lentil Soup:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium-large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1 inch cubes
1 large onion, diced
2 large stalks celery, chopped
2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
1 glove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 16-oz. bag lentils, picked clean of rocks
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
5 cups water
Salt and cracked black pepper to taste
Toasted coconut flakes and non-fat plain Greek yogurt for serving

Here's what you do:

In a 6 quart saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add in the onions and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes. Season slightly with salt and pepper.

Add in the celery and the potatoes. Season with a bit more pepper. Add more butter if the veggies are sticking to the bottom of the pan. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until slightly tender.

Stir in the garlic, ginger and chili powder and cook one minute more.

Add in the lentils and stir to coat. Allow to cook in the pan for about a minute then add in the stock and water. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer about 50 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork-tender and the lentils are soft. Adjust seasonings.

To serve, ladle soup into large bowls and add a dollop of yogurt. Sprinkle with toasted coconut and enjoy!

recipe adapted from The Daily Green

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