Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Esau's Soup

I originally got this recipe from a Penzeys catalog; it was called Red, Red Soup. When looking [unsuccessfully] for a link to it, I found a virtually identical version here. The soup's two names come from the biblical account of Jacob and Esau--specifically the time when a very tired and hungry Esau (who, as an interesting side note, was very red and hairy at birth) got home, saw Jacob cooking some lentil stew, and demanded, "Give me some of that red stew!"

As you can see, this soup, unlike Jacob's, is not in fact red. But don't let that deter you.

Olive oil (a couple tablespoons)
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
1 potato, roughly chopped
The cloves from 1 garlic bulb, peeled and roughly chopped
At least 1 c. red lentils (I probably used about 1 1/2 c.)
6 c. vegetable or chicken broth (or 6 c. of water and 6 t. of Better than Bouillon, which is what I used)*
2 bay leaves
2 lemons, halved (if you're using lemons that are really big, you might want to use just one)
Ground cumin (1/2 t. or so)
Ground cayenne, to taste
Salt, to taste (I didn't add much at all, because I didn't think it needed much)
Fresh parsley, chopped (optional; I didn't use it, because I didn't have any)

Heat the oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the onions, and cook until soft--about 5 minutes. Then add the celery, carrots, potato, and half of the chopped garlic. Cook for a few more minutes, stirring occasionally, until the veggies begin to soften a bit. Add the lentils and the broth, stir to combine, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover the pot, and simmer the soup for about 20 minutes. Then add the bay leaves, the remaining garlic, and two of the lemon halves (save the other two for later). Cook for 10 more minutes, then remove the bay leaves and compost them. Using tongs, squeeze the juice from the cooked lemon halves and stir it into the soup. Squeeze the juice from the two fresh lemon halves as well, and stir it into the soup too. Compost all the lemon halves. Using an immersion blender or a regular blender (in batches, if the latter), carefully purée the soup. Stir in the cumin, cayenne, and salt. Garnish individual servings with parsley (if using) and an extra dash of cayenne, if you like.

* Both source recipes called for only 4 c. of broth, so that's what I initially added. Once I puréed it, it was so thick that it was kind of like a cross between mashed potatoes and soup. I wanted it a bit soupier, so I added some extra broth. It was still nice and thick the way I made it.

This was absolutely delicious--we all thought so. It was so creamy and flavorful that Steve almost couldn't believe it didn't have any cream in it. I have a feeling it will be making its way into our stock pot on a regular basis this winter. The lemon and cumin were great touches. And I love that the soup is so inexpensive to make!


Brenda Yun said...

awesome! i did a presentation on lentils for my food and culture class this fall and mentioned esau's soup. did you know that adam is described to have skin that looks like lentils (aka brown/reddish skin)?

i'll give this recipe a try. thanks!

Wendy said...

Let me know how you like it when you try it!