Friday, December 1, 2006

Lemon Lentil Soup with Spinach

from Fresh Food Fast by Peter Berley

1 1/2 cups red or brown lentils, rinsed (I used red)

1 cup canned chopped tomatoes, with their juice

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (I used one tablespoon)

8 garlic cloves, peeled (I chopped, then mashed into a paste with the salt)

2 teaspoons coarse sea salt or kosher salt

4 slices peeled fresh ginger, each about the size of a quarter (or 1 teaspoon grated)

1 sprig fresh rosemary (or 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary)

1 bay leaf

1 10-ounce bag washed baby spinach (I used 5 ounces or less, and chopped before adding to pot)

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Freshly milled black pepper

(I did this all on the stove top. The lentils cooked within 15-20 minutes, so using a pressure cooker doesn't really save that much time. I'll bet it could be done pretty well in a crockpot too since there is no sauteeing.)

In a pressure cooker over high heat, combine 4-5 cups of water with the lentils, tomatoes, oil, garlic, and salt. Wrap the ginger, rosemary, and bay leaf in a piece of cheesecloth, tie it closed with kitchen string, and add this bouquet garni to the pot. (Don't skip this step!)

Lock the lid in place and bring to full pressure. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.Transfer the pressure cooker to the sink and run cold water over it to release the pressure. Remove the lid and discard the bouquet garni.
Return the pot to medium heat. Add the spinach and simmer until wilted. Stir in the lemon juice. Crush the garlic against the side of the pot with the back of a spoon and stir so that all the garlic completely melts into the soup. Add pepper and serve immediately.

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