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Chef Patti Anastasia
Serving Southern New Hampshire since 2003
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Table Talk » Grains of Paradise and Autumn Blend Lentils
I'm on a mission to try some of the interesting new ingredients that I've bought, but haven't made time to use. This lentil soup uses two items that have been sitting on my new ingredient shelf for a while: Grains of Paradise and an Autumn lentil blend. I bought the Grains of Paradise at A Market Natural Foods, a local natural foods store. The Autumn lentil blend came from Sid Wainer & Sons, a purveyor of specialty produce and speciality foods located in New Bedford, MA.
Grains of Paradise have a peppery taste, with a fruity flavor like coriander and an aroma that reminds me of cardamom. I'm going to add some to my pepper mill the next time I fill it.
The Autumn lentil blend was a rainbow of autumn colors. It would have been wiser to use them in dish that wasn't blended, but they've been on my shelf for a while, so in the pot they went.
My lentil soup recipe is a slight modification of a recipe from Alton Brown. Of course I had to make a few modifications. I didn't have any celery, so I added some extra onion and carrots, and 1/2 teaspoon of ground celery seed. Soup needs garlic, in goes three cloves of minced garlic. Tomatoes are dreadful at this time of year, so I knew that I'd be using canned diced tomatoes. When I opened the cabinet to get the tomatoes, a can of fire-roasted tomatoes said "pick me". Oh, and I didn't bother finely chopping the vegetables because the soup gets blended with an immersion blender before serving.
Paradise Lentil Soup
1 tablespoons olive oil
Place the olive oil into a large 6-quart Dutch oven and set over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion, garlic, carrot, and salt and sweat until the onions are translucent, approximately 6 to 7 minutes. Add the lentils, tomatoes, broth, celery seed, coriander, cumin, grains of paradise, and black pepper, and stir to combine. Increase the heat to high and bring just to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook at a low simmer until the lentils are tender, approximately 35 to 40 minutes. Using a stick blender, puree to your preferred consistency.
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