You see, I have attention-deficit disorder. Self-diagnosed. I continue to accumulate recipe after another. I'm overwhelmed by my Bon Appetit collection, not to mention all 524 recipes of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. (Stay tuned for "Julie & Julia...& Blair," in which I will master each recipe from finish to start, then translate my blog into French.) But in the spirit of focusing and saving some dough, I've decided to cook with what I have on hand. Chopped-style.
Instead of eel, durian, and ketchup, luckily I had sweet potatoes, yellow lentils, garlic, onions, and vegetable broth. A soup was born. I must say this was a pleasing winter meal, perfect for lunch, dinner, breakfast!, or an afternoon snack. Cardamom lends a subtle sweetness, accenting the sweet potatoes, and curry powder/red pepper offer balance and kick.
Cure what ails you with this soup—or, better yet, riff on what you've got.
Sweet Potato and Yellow Lentil Soup
2 sweet potatoes (keep the skins!), chopped into bite-sized pieces
1/4 cup dry yellow lentils (or substitute red lentils)
1 1/2 Tbs olive oil
1 large white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp cardamom
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 to 1/2 tsp red pepper
1 bay leaf
3 1/2 cups vegetable stock
Mix curry powder, cardamom, salt, pepper, and red pepper. Set aside. Heat olive oil in large pot over medium flame/temperature. Add garlic, then onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are tender and translucent, about 8 minutes. Add spice mixture and stir constantly for 1 to 2 minutes.
Pour in about 1 cup of stock; add sweet potatoes. Stir. Pour in remaining stock; stir. Add lentils and bay leaf. Stir. Bring to boil, then turn heat down to medium-low. Cover and cook until potatoes and lentils are tender, about 20 minutes. Uncover and cook 3 to 5 minutes. Remove bay leaf.
You can gently mash potatoes and lentils to give liquid extra heft/texture/bite. I prefer a textural variety of whole, mashed, and liquid elements.
Ladle into bowls and enjoy! This soup, like most others—like most of life—gets better with time.