Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Sweet Potato, Lentil, and Coconut Curry

Despite the Winter doldrums, hearty stews like this make me glad to savor the last of these cold days. This curry combines plenty of vegetables (use whatever you have on hand: cauliflower, potatoes, red peppers) with the richness of lentils and coconut, and is so comforting, you'll want to snuggle on the couch with a bowl any time of year.

Sweet Potato, Lentil, and Coconut Curry
8-12 servings
The secret to this soup's creamy texture is a combination of red lentils--which practically dissolve when cooked thoroughly--and blending half of the soup. Use this technique any time you want to add smoothness without added fat. (Of course, that doesn't apply here, since this recipe uses an entire can of coconut milk.)

1 1/2 cups red lentils
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, diced
4 carrots, sliced into 1/2" pieces
4 stalks celery, sliced into 1/2" pieces
2 zucchini, sliced into 1/2" half moons
3 medium sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2" chunks
6 cups water
2 13-ounce cans crushed or diced tomatoes
1 13-ounce can coconut milk (low fat coconut milk can also be used)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon curry powder
1 tablespoon sea salt
generous pinch crushed red pepper
1 bunch kale, spinach, or other dark greens, roughly chopped
juice of one lime

Soak red lentils in water for at least 2 hours and up to overnight. Drain, rinse, and set aside until ready to use.

In a large stockpot over medium high heat, combine olive oil, garlic, onion, carrots, celery, zucchini, and sweet potatoes; I simply add each ingredient as I'm finished chopping, in no particular order. Saute until just tender, 5-8 minutes. Add water, crushed or diced tomatoes, and reserved lentils. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer 30-40 minutes.

Transfer half the soup to a blender (if you have a plastic blender jar, you may want to cool it slightly in a bowl first), and blend until very smooth. Return blended soup to the pot. Stir in coconut milk, curry powder, sea salt, crushed red pepper, and greens, and simmer for another 10-15 minutes. Add lime juice, and serve hot.

The curry is excellent as is, or served over cooked grains for a more substantial meal.


Ricki said...

Three of my very favorite ingredients, all in one soup! Sounds like the perfect way to say "bye bye" to winter! :)

Jessica said...

Oh my! This is so delicious. When are you moving in with me, Joy? Thanks for planning my Wednesday dinner.