Oh hello, feels-like-minus-40-with-the-windchill. That was Toronto this morning. Good thing I still have a massive wool hat to cover my ears and a turquoise sweatshirt to bulk up my winter coat (highschool throwback). Classy commute to work aside, the whole office building was struggling with the temperatures, and my colleagues and I spent the bulk of the day with our scarves on. And we’ve had it relatively easy! No power in Newfoundland, worse temperatures in Manitoba, and record-breaking lows in the States – all told, 190 million chillier-than-average people. Good day to share a hearty soup recipe, yes? Here’s an old favourite: Heidi Swanson’s lentil soup with saffron yogurt.
I love this soup for its heartiness and unfussiness, its healthiness and pantry-based nature. It’s like a simpler version of the Turkish Spinach and Lentil Soup, but the saffron yogurt makes it feel decadent and dressed up. We had it for a holiday reunion dinner last week – Melissa, KP, Sujin, Kate, Sebastian, Dave and I around the same table for the first time in a year – but I’ve also eaten it to get me through wintertime papers and cold weekend days when I need to get warmed up. It’s so good with buttered toast.
Notes: Don’t let the saffron in the recipe turn you off – it’s pretty delicious with just plain yogurt on top. The original recipe also throws in other potential add-ins, like cumin, cubes of butternut squash, or crispy-fried shallots – you’ve got a lot of room for inspiration with this one. Let me know what you try out!
Lentil Soup with Saffron Yogurt
from 101 Cookbooks
2 cups black or green lentils, rinsed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 tsp salt
1 20-oz can crushed or diced tomatoes
2 cups stock or water
3 cups leafy greens (chard, kale, etc), deveined and finely chopped
30-40 threads of saffron
1 tbsp boiling water
2 pinches of salt
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1. In a medium pot, boil 6 cups of water. Add the lentils and let cook for about 20 minutes, or until just tender. Strain them, discard the remaining water, and set aside.
2. In a small bowl, pour the tbsp of boiling water over the saffron threads. Let them sit for a few minutes before adding the yogurt and 2 pinches of salt. Stir to combine, and set aside.
3. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add chopped onion and 1 tsp salt, stirring occasionally until the onions are translucent and soft. Add canned tomatoes and their juices, the cooked lentils, and the stock/water. Bring to a simmer. Add chopped greens and let cook for 1 minute before removing the soup from the heat. Add salt & pepper to taste, and serve in bowls in a dollop of yogurt over top.