Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Slow Cooker Red Lentil and Sweet Potato Soup

This was tonight's dinner. I liked the warm spice mix, but if you don't have some of them, feel free to simplify or substitute. In this kind of recipe, some people like to pre-saute the onions and garlic and/or toast the spices in a little oil before assembling in the slow cooker.  I don't usually bother, but go ahead if you want to.
If you don't have a slow cooker, you can cook the soup entirely on the stove top. It will probably take an hour or so.

Slow Cooker Red Lentil and Sweet Potato Soup

2 cups dry red lentils
1 ½ cups chopped onion (about 1 medium-large)
2 ½ cups sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½ inch dice (2-3, depending on sides)
1-2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp curry powder
½ tsp ginger
½ tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp cardamom
¼ tsp fenugreek
1 tsp lemon pepper seasoning
¾ tsp salt (more to taste)
2 tsp low sodium vegetable broth powder (I used Vegebase), optional
2 bay leaves
1 small piece kombu
6 ½ cups water, veggie broth, or a combination thereof
2 tsp oil
4-5 dried apricots, chopped (optional)
2-3 pieces candied ginger, chopped (optional)

2-3 tsp lemon juice

Place all ingredients except lemon juice, in order*, in slow cooker. Cook on high for 4-5 hours, until lentils are soft and sweet potatoes can be easily pierced by a fork. Stir after an hour of cooking, and about once an hour for the rest of cooking time. Before serving, stir in lemon juice and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary.

Serve with biscuits or flatbread for dipping.

* It's important that the spices not be on the bottom, because they can burn, and that the water is on top of the spices so that they dissolve. Otherwise you don't have to be too obsessive about the order. The general order of lentils/beans, then vegetables, then spices, then water/broth will serve you well in this kind of recipe.

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