Thursday, June 12, 2008

What We're Eating: Lentil Rhubarb Soup

Despite the tornado warnings, hail, gusty winds and torrential rain, we picked up our first CSA box today. In it we found spinach, rhubarb, radishes, chives, mixed greens, garlic scapes, a basil plant and fresh chive goat cheese. It was pretty much what I expected (but what are garlic scapes?) and I was prepared with a lentil rhubarb soup recipe. I love to cook but I don't enjoy baking so I didn't want to make a rhubarb crisp or anything like that. Recently I had tried a lentil rhubarb side dish at Whole Foods and I was hoping to make something like that-- a savory, non-sweet rhubarb dish. I googled "lentil rhubarb" and got lots of hits. I printed out a few and decided on Lentil Rhubarb Soup with Creme Fraiche. It was a Cooking Light recipe so I tweaked a few things to make it less light, mainly using olive oil instead of cooking spray to saute the vegetables. I can say, without a doubt, that it was ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS. Here's the recipe, reprinted without permission...

1 1/2 cups boiling water
3/4 cup dried petite green lentils (I used regular old dried lentils)
Cooking spray (I used olive oil)
2 cups finely chopped carrot
1 3/4 cups finely chopped celery
1 1/2 cups finely chopped red onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 cups chopped rhubarb (about 12 ounces) (This turned out to be the entire portion of rhubarb in the CSA box)
4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth (I used veggie broth)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
6 tablespoons crème fraîche Dill sprigs (optional)

1. Pour 1 1/2 cups boiling water over lentils in a small bowl; let stand 10 minutes.

2. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add carrot, celery, onion, and parsley to pan; sauté for 4 minutes. Add rhubarb, and sauté for 3 minutes. Drain lentils, and add lentils to pan. Stir in chicken broth and salt; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 35 minutes or until lentils are tender.

3. Remove from heat; let cool 5 minutes. Place 3 cups lentil mixture in a blender or food processor. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Return pureed mixture to pan; stir in pepper. (I used a stick blender)

4. Combine chopped dill and crème fraîche in a small bowl. Serve crème fraîche mixture on top of soup; garnish with dill sprigs, if desired.

6 servings (serving size: about 1 1/3 cups soup and 1 tablespoon crème fraîche mixture) (Um... 3 servings in my house...)

Nutritional Information
CALORIES 187(29% from fat); FAT 6.1g (sat 3.3g,mono 1.4g,poly 0.4g); IRON 2.2mg; CHOLESTEROL 14mg; CALCIUM 96mg; CARBOHYDRATE 25.4g; SODIUM 523mg; PROTEIN 8.5g; FIBER 7.3g
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