Molly Wizenberg of Orangette describes this as a "quiet soup," and that's exactly what we were in the mood for this past weekend. Fragrant with cumin and buoyed by that surprising dash of lemon juice, this lentil soup was an instant hit.
This recipe originally comes from Melissa Clark's new book In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite, which I hope to have a chance to read for myself very soon. In Molly's opinion, the key to the recipe comes from the tomato paste that gets stirred into the onions and garlic just before the broth is added, and I would agree. You don't really taste it specifically in the final soup, but there's a deepness and a savoriness in this lentil soup that many other versions lack.
I also think it's important that this soup is pureed. Tasting it pre-blending, I was thought it was disappointingly bland and rather unexciting. Post-blending, it suddenly came together and seemed to hit every taste bud with flavor. That squeeze of lemon at the end also helped give the soup some brightness and another layer of flavor.
This is an excellent lentil soup, especially when served with a small green salad and a triangle or two of cheese toast. Combined with the fact that it's quick to make and will freeze superbly, this soup will definitely be going into our rotation this winter.
(Image: Emma Christensen)