Puréed Vegetarian Mulligatawny Soup

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Guys, I’m sick. I caught a beast of a cold earlier this week and I am one grumpy Sara. I’m achy, I’ve been sneezing, and if I’d known this was coming, I’d have purchased stock in tissues. I’ve been spending a lot of time in bed, but I’m awake now and before I head back to the warmth of my blankets, I wanted to share this recipe with you. This soup won’t cure your cold, but it’ll sure make you feel better.

I should tell you a few of things about this soup before I get down to the nitty-gritty recipe stuff. First, it is by far my favorite soup on the planet. I could eat this delicious, hearty, and silky soup every single day.

Second, this soup is the reason the Vitamix blender was invented. My lovely husband gifted me this blender and we use it almost every day (we make a lot of smoothies these days). Though I love my immersion blender when I’m looking for a soup with more texture, the Vitamix creates the smoothest, creamiest, most luscious soups I’ve ever had.

And finally, this soup is super flexible. As long as you have the correct spices, you can play around with the veggies all you want. Don’t have turnips? That’s fine, use parsnips. Only have chicken stock? Totally cool, use that instead of vegetable stock! Fresh out of red lentils? It’ll be fine, use orange lentils or split peas! I do want to stress that the spices are pretty essential, so, hit up your local bulk section stock up, because my guess is you’ll be making this soup over and over!

I absolutely love Indian food. At one point in my life, I was a waitress at an Indian restaurant and I thought life couldn’t get any better! Imagine being surrounded by great people and amazing food every day and getting paid for it?! I’d go home and try to recreate what I’d eaten that day; I wasn’t always successful, but I came close. This soup is pretty darn close to what I use to eat, and it’s a good thing I love it so much, because I’ve been able to play around with the ingredients in order to get it “just right.” Even when it’s not perfect, it’s still pretty amazing.

Vegetarian Mulligatawny Soup
(makes 8-10 servings; warm leftovers on stovetop)

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons chickpea (garbanzo bean, or besan) flour  (I would urge you to buy a package of this and keep it in your freezer)
5 to 6 cups vegetable stock (or low-sodium chicken stock, if you prefer)
1 large potato, diced (leave the skin on, as you’re going to purée the soup)
6 or 7 large button mushrooms (or cremini, if you can find them – more flavor!), roughly chopped
4 small, or 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
2 small parsnips, peeled and sliced
4 tablespoons orange lentils (red or green lentils will be fine, as well as split peas)
2 crushed bay leaves
3 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 large onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
1-inch piece of fresh ginger, minced
14 oz can unsweetened coconut milk (not low-fat)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
Juice from 2 lemons
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped, more for garnish
cooked rice, if desired

Method:

In a heavy skillet over medium-high heat, dry roast the peppercorns, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and fennel seeds. Stir, and cook for a few minutes until fragrant. Keep and eye on the dry spices, as they can burn easily and then you’ll have to start all over! Remove spices from the pan and allow them to cool for a few minutes. In a coffee or spice grinder, grind the spice mixture into a powder. Add the turmeric and cayenne to the mixture and set aside.

In a large soup pot, add the chickpea flour and a few tablespoons of stock. Whisk to remove any lumps. Add the remaining stock and whisk to combine.

To the soup pot add the ground spices, mushrooms, vegetables, lentils, bay leaves, garlic, onion, and ginger; bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.

Remove from heat and in batches, blend soup in blender. If all you have is an immersion blender or food processor, that’s just fine. It won’t be as smooth, but the flavor should be great, so it’s okay! When all of the soup is blended, pour it back into the pot and return the pot to the stove. Add the coconut milk, salt and pepper, lemon juice, and chopped cilantro. Simmer the soup for a few minutes to allow the flavors to combine. Adjust seasoning to your preference.

Serve in bowls with a few spoonfuls of cooked rice. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over and garnish with more cilantro, if desired.

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