When a recipe calls for sauteing prior to adding the bulk of the ingredients it can, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, be done either on the stove or in the GSO. For me the choice usually depends on my mood. Sometimes I prefer the convenience of starting out inside and sometimes I like to see how little conventional fuel I can use. When I made this lentil curry I played a little game of “What if I didn’t have any electricity?” and dug out my long forgotten food mill so I didn’t even have to use a food processor. Too bad I had to make a quick trip to the market for a lemon; that kind of negated all my efforts to conserve energy. Oh well, nobody’s perfect.
Sun Oven Curried Lentil Soup
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
2 large cloves garlic, minced, divided
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 cup green lentils
3 1/2 cups water
1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon butter
Set Global Sun Oven out to preheat. Pour 1 tablespoon oil in a dark, light-weight and heat in GSO.
Chop the onion and carrots while the oil is heating. Add onion and carrots to the pot in the GSO, stir to coat; cook vegetables until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir half of the minced garlic and cook another 5 minutes or until the vegetables begin to soften. Stir in curry powder and cook for about 1 minute. Add lentils and water, put the lid on the pot and cook until the lentils are tender, about 50 minutes.
While the lentils are cooking, pass the chickpeas through a food mill and mix with lemon juice, remaining tablespoon olive oil, and remaining garlic. (This step can also been done in a food processor.)
Stir chickpea mixture and butter into soup, adding additional water if needed, cover and cook until heated through, about 10 minutes.
Makes 6 servings.
Red lentils are a favorite in our house. Serve this soup with some whole wheat pita bread and a salad for a satisfying and filling vegetarian dinner.
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 pound dried red lentils, picked over, rinsed, and drained
1 (14 1/2 oz) can diced tomatoes
4 celery stalks with leaves, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 cardamon pods
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
5 cups water or vegetable broth
Set Global Sun Oven out to preheat.
Heat the oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and ginger, cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the curry powder and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add the remaining ingredients, stir, cover, and place in GSO. Cook until lentils are tender, 2 – 3 hours. Discard cardamon pods and garlic.
Puree soup in batches in a blender or in the pot with a handheld immersion blender.
Makes 6 servings.
The only hard part is finding the garlic and the cardamon pods before pureeing the soup. If you can’t find both the garlic cloves it’s not a big deal. I cannot say the same about the cardamon pods. These must be found and removed, if not you’ll wind up with dozens of nasty, hard, little black seeds that will ruin your soup. And yes, I speak from experience.
Here’s a tasty curry that’s a fine example of using multiple cooking methods. It’s easier to keep on eye on the onions, which could easily burn, if you saute them on your stove while preparing the ginger and garlic purée. Once the stew is fully assembled it is transferred to the Sun Oven. Finally, when it comes out of the Sun Oven, additional spices are toasted in a heavy skillet.
Curried Red Lentil Stew with Carrots and Sweet Potato
(adapted from Gourmet magazine April 2007)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 2-inch piece peeled fresh ginger, quartered
5 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
4 1/3 cups water
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 cups red lentils, picked over and rinsed
2 medium carrots, quartered length wise and chopped
1 medium sweet potato, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
3 cups chopped trimmed spinach leaves
1 cup frozen peas (not thawed)
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon dried hot red-pepper flakes
Heat oil in a large pot until hot but not smoking, then cook onion, stirring occasionally, until golden, 8 to 10 minutes.
While the onion is cooking, purée ginger, garlic, and 1/3 cup water in a blender. Add purée to golden onion and cook, stirring, until water is evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add curry powder, turmeric, and cumin and cook over low heat, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in lentils, carrots, sweet potatoes, and remaining 4 cups water. Cover and place pot in preheated Sun Oven and cook for approx. 90 minutes, or until lentils have broken down into a coarse purée.
Stir in spinach and peas and leave in Sun Oven, covered, until peas are tender. About 10 minutes.
Just before serving, heat a small heavy skillet over moderately high heat, toast the cumin seeds and red-pepper flakes, stirring, until fragrant and a shade darker, 30 to 45 seconds (be careful not to burn spices). Stir hot spices into the stew.
Serve with basmati rice.
Makes 6 to 8 servings