Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sweet Plantain Lentil Soup, With Love.

As everyone saw yesterday, I had some very ripe Plantain sitting around my kitchen. It was a rainy, cold afternoon, and I knew Jason, after a long day at class, and a chilly commute, would appreciate something warm in his tummy when he finally got home. A few months ago, my mother raved about Plantain soup she'd had at a Cuban restaurant in Miami, so that has lingered in my head as something I wanted to cook at some point.

After about an hour of hunting through various online recipes, ALL of which I was missing only 1 ingredient for (grrrr), I settled on a recipe from the blog, Glass Petal Smoke. What intrigued me was that the recipe was from a famous restaurant and the author had slowly squeezed the recipe out of the chef after many years of needling. You can find the original recipe and story behind it here:
I, however, am not a famous chef, and my kitchen ingredients are sparse, so i had to make the recipe my own way. What I excluded was TVP(a protein powder), Epazote(a spice i've never heard of), and Coriander Seed (which i have mentally noted to buy next time i'm at the Supermarket because it sounds like something I should have in my spice collection. ) I also didnt have chicken stock, so substituted chicken broth (I have never understood the difference anyway). AND, finally, I added a tablespoon of Lime juice to my bowl for seasoning afterwards, and that really was the flavor clincher. I REALLY liked this recipe, and WILL make it again. And, of course it passed with the husband, who was thrilled to have hot food waiting for him when he got home. Mission accomplished.

Following is how I made this recipe, but the oroginal recipe is attached to the above link if you have access to those special ingredients.

· 16 ounce bag of green lentils, rinsed
· 3 sweet yellow plantain (sliced into discs)
· 2 large carrots (diced)
· 2 large stalks of celery (diced)
· ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
· 1 medium Spanish onion (chopped)
· 1 tablespoon olive oil
· 4 cups of water
· 2 cans chicken broth
· 2 teaspoons ground cumin
· ½ teaspoon oregano
· · plain nonfat yogurt for garnish
Lime juice

· Heat olive oil on a low flame. Add onions and celery and sauté until onions are clear.
· Add all dry spices. Mix thoroughly, coating celery and onions with the spices.
· Slowly pour chicken broth and water into the pot. Add carrots and sweet plantain, gently mixing all of the ingredients together. Cover the pot and heat on a low to medium flame. Allow contents to simmer until they reach a gentle boil.
· When the soup begins to boil add lentils, reducing heat to a low setting and covering once again.
· Stir soup every half hour until 1hour has passed.
· When finished, serve with a dollop of sour cream and fresh cilantro. Add a tablespoon of lime juice to individual bowls.

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