Monday, April 28, 2008
Baby Beluga Soup
What kind of soup? No the title is not misspelled. I promise that really is the name of today's recipe. I enjoy a little whimsy when naming a dish, and I promise you there is meaning behind the Baby Beluga Soup. I'll try to be brief.
If you were born in the early eighties, chances are you may have listened to a certain children's performer named Raffi. Raffi played, sang, and wrote alot of the songs he say; he had a band and several albums and they were the primary music played in my home from 1988-1992. He moved away from children's music to environmental material shortly thereafter. You can still purchase his CDs and concerts on DVD and I'll have copies for my kids someday.
Long story short: 'Baby Beluga' is the name of one of my favorite Raffi songs. It's about a beluga whale- Baby Beluga to be specific. It's a great song, very simple and easy to remember; I can hear my dad's voice singing it in my head. Due to the song this foodie thinks of whales, not caviar.
Don't worry, I am not cooking with whale today! The star item in my soup is the beluga lentil, so named because they look like shiny caviar when cooked. I had never seen them before but I picked up a package of partly cooked beluga lentils at Trader Joe's a month ago. I've been pondering what to do with them this whole time. I love these spices and they made a good soup. I used the majority of the little package; what is left will adorn a salad or crostini someday soon.
Baby Beluga Soup
1 tablespoon Enova oil
1 teaspoon Garam Masala
1 teaspoon Cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground Ginger
pinch Red Pepper flakes
1/2 cup red, orange, and yellow Bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup onion, diced
2 Garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/4 cups fully cooked Beluga lentils
3 1/2 cups water or vegetable broth
Salt, to taste
Heat the oil in a heavy pot over medium heat. Add the spices and cook a few moments until fragrant. Add the bell pepper, onion, and garlic and saute for a few minutes until the vegetables have softened. Add the water or vegetable broth and 1 teaspoon salt. Simmer covered for 10 minutes. Add the lentils and simmer for 5 minutes, uncovered. Remove 2 cups of the soup and mash to a course puree. Return the mash to the soup and stir. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
If you can find dry Beluga lentils, (I've only been able to find this package of full cooked ones at Trader Joes) add them with the broth and simmer covered for 20 minutes, then uncovered for another 10. If you want to garnish the soup I'd use some chives, maybe a little sour cream or yogurt. I thought it was great without garnish, and really quick to make.