Saturday, December 11, 2010

Roasted Eggplant and Lentil soup

I meant to post this recipe a long time ago, I just never got around to it. The cold weather has me constantly thinking of what soup to make. This one is next on my list. While visiting our relatives in Louisiana this past September we stopped in at this new little restaurant. From the outside it looks like it just sells cupcakes, and when you walk looks like they just sell cupcakes. So, needless to say, we bought a cupcake. Well that little cupcake was nothing to write home about. Anyways, while we were sitting there eating the cupcake the owner brought us a sample of her eggplant and lentil soup. Now that was something to write home about. Super yummy and light, very very nice. When we got home I immediately set out to recreate that lovely soup. I think I did a pretty good job and was pleased with the end result. I need to make it again, and soon.

Eggplant facts:

1) Also known as aubergine, melongene, brinjal, or guinea squash...I wonder what my aliases are?

2) Native to India...oh...that explains why it is in so many Indian dishes, it is all coming together now.

3) They come in a nice variety of colors that can color coordinate with any kitchen color scheme you have going on in your humble abode...yellow, green, purple, reddish purple, or white.

4) Technically is a fruit. Go figure.

5) It is bitter tasting when please cook it first.

6) The larger fatter eggplants usually require "degorging". Which is salting and then rinsing the sliced fruit, this makes it soft and helps take away some of the bitterness.

7) Recently I have been buying the small skinny squashes and using them in stir fries. So good!

Roasted Eggplant and Lentil Soup

Take 2 large eggplants and peel them. Then slice them into large flat disks. Then place the slices on a rack and sprinkle both sides with salt. Let the disks sit for 30 minutes. Then rinse them off with water and squeeze out any excess moisture.

Place the slices in a single layer onto a baking pan and roast in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. Flip them over after 10 minutes.

Remove eggplant from the oven and cool for a few minutes. At this point you can either dice the slices, or puree them in a food processor. I like my soup to have a hearty texture so I dice. Set aside.

Coat the bottom of a large stock pot with olive oil and saute 1 large diced onion over medium high heat 5 minutes. Add 3 cloves of diced garlic, and 1 pound of rinsed, drained dry lentils. Add eggplant to pot.

Then add:

6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 TBS Apple cider vinegar

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

Simmer over medium/high heat until lentils are tender 25-35 minutes. Add more liquid during the cooking process if it is no longer covering the lentils. Taste and season more if needed.

I almost added some diced tomatoes, but didn't. I think I might try that next time, but this was good as is, I need to make it again. I served it along side some nice little spicy lamb chops...very nice combination.

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