Sunday, December 8, 2013

Pellets! With Lemons and Leaves!

This summer, David and I had this approximate conversation.

Him: I'm interested in learning how to cook those...pellets. 

Me: (elipsis)

Him: You make indian food out of them... You boil them...They turn into soup...

Me (further elipsis)

Him: They're little, and round. I don't know what they are.

Me: You mean beans?

Him: No! They're flat.

Me: Lentils. (hysterical laughter) "Pellets"!

Him: Whatever. They come in different colors.

Now I tease him by saying I'm going to feed him pellets for dinner. This is a good recipe for soup made out of pellets which I made because there is a cafe downtown that serves something very similar to it. It's particularly nice on a rotten rainy day. I eat it with bread and butter.

1 cup of pellets, the orange kind
1 onion, cut up rather fine
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon turmeric, optional, but fun
1 small carrot, cut into 1/2 inch bits
1/2 cup user-defined* leaves
juice of a lemon

Put the pellets in a large-ish pot. Rinse them several times to get rid of any dust or foreign objects. Add about 8 cups of water, the onion, bay leaf, cumin, turmeric, and salt & pepper. If you want a slightly richer flavor, add a pat of butter or a couple tablespoons of olive oil.

Bring to a medium boil for about 20 minutes, or until the pellets start to dissolve, then add the carrots and leaves. Taste for salt. Boil until the pellets are totally dissolved, and the soup is as thick as you want it. If it starts getting too thick, just add a little more water. 

Right before serving, add the lemon juice.

*User-defined leaves: I have used frozen chopped spinach, and leftover "baby power greens", whatever those were. Spinach is usually what is found in lentil soup, but there is no reason you could not use kale, chard, baby bok choi, arugula, lambs quarters, purslane, or any number of other things, as long as you remember that some leaves take longer to cook and have slightly more pronounced flavors.

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