Are you the caretaker or the patient? Whose turn is it to be the nurse and who gets to stay in bed? Neither one is much fun. Hopefully you are all up and around, not affected by this season of sickness.
When it comes to fighting colds, chicken soup gets all the glory. There have even been scientific studies about its effectiveness and it is a proven fact that chicken soup can make you feel better. May be so, but I like this curried citrus lentil soup better. It’s tangy and tart, a little spicy and very uplifting. Much more interesting than chicken soup. I call it he Flu Fighter because it’s full of beneficial ingredients, proven to help you stay healthy (important for caretakers) and get healthy (important for invalids).
There’s the juice of FIVE citrus fruits – talk about vitamin C! Ginger, garlic, carrots, lentils and spices are all loaded with antioxidants, fiber, anti-inflammatories and vitamins. That’s got to make you feel better and brighter.
The original source of this lively soup is a bit of a mystery. I’ve adapted it from a recipe on Food52,where it was posted by The Spiced Life, who got it from Oprah. Now you can say you got it from Mignardise.
This is one of those soups that benefits greatly from tweaking. Taste it as you go along. If it seems too tart, add a little more sweetener. Another pinch of sea salt might be helpful and definitely some freshly ground pepper. Don’t leave out the last squeeze of lime!
Curried Citrus Lentil Soup
1-2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 medium parsnips, small-diced
2 medium carrots, small-diced
4-6 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tbsps. fresh ginger, minced
1 Tbsp. curry powder
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
juice of 1 lemon
juice of 2 limes, plus one more for serving
juice of 1 grapefruit
1 bay leaf
8 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup red lentil
1/2 cup French green lentils
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1-3 Tbsps. agave, honey or maple syrup
1 orange, sliced very thin, for garnish
plain Greek yogurt or sour cream, for optional garnish
In a large Dutch oven, or soup pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onions, carrots and parsnips and sprinkle with a big pinch of salt. Cook until softened and slightly browned, about 10 minutes.
Turn heat down to medium, then add garlic and ginger and cook for 2 minutes more. Add curry, cumin and coriander and stir for 30 seconds. Add all the juices from the lemon, limes and grapefruit, the agave (or honey), bay leaf, chicken stock and lentil. Raise heat to high and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 45-55 minutes, until lentils are tender. The red ones will fall apart but the green ones should keep their shape.
Remove bay leaf, add cilantro and the juice of the third lime. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If the soup seems too tart, add a little more sweetener – no more than a tablespoon at a time.
Serve garnished with orange slices and yogurt or sour cream if desired.