We had more snow during the week. Light flurries throughout the day that added up to a massive traffic jam in Luxembourg city by the evening rush hour. By the time I got home (3 hours after leaving the office instead of the usual 40 minutes) it was raining. The next day, it was +6°C and in the afternoon the grey blanket across the sky parted and the sun shone giving the ray of hope that we are nearing the end of winter. I have been noticing other signs that spring is just around the corner too. Birds have been building nests in the trees. Not sure why I never noticed this in previous years but it could be that they are a bit difficult to spot amongst the mistletoe we are used to seeing hanging in the branches. In the larger trees there are more robust twiggy nests and in the smaller trees more mossy looking ones. I also spotted shoots breaking ground for the early spring flowers.
Lentil soup seemed to me to be a good thing to serve during this bridge period between winter to spring.
Lentil Soup with Cilantro and Tomatoes
15 mL (1 Tbsp) olive oil
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
180 mL (3/4 cup) red lentils
2 x 400 g (2 x 14 oz) cans chopped tomatoes
2 L (8 cups) water
1 chicken stock cube
80 mL (1/3 cup) chopped cilantro*
10 mL (2 tsp) turmeric
5 mL (1 tsp) paprika
5 mL (1 tsp) black peppercorns, cracked
Pinch ground cumin
Heat oil in a large soup pot; add onion and garlic, cook, stirring, until onions are soft. Stir in lentils, chopped tomatoes, water, stock cube, cilantro, turmeric, paprika and peppercorns; bring to a boil, the simmer uncovered for about 1-1/2 hours (or until lentils are tender).
Remove most** of the solids from the soup to a blender and purée until smooth. Blend puréed solids back into the soup and stir until heated through. Sprinkle with cumin and serve.
*Cilantro is also known as fresh coriander.
* *Amount will vary depending on the texture you want for the soup.