When it comes to versatile flavor and nutritional bang for your buck, you can’t beat dried beans.Â On the downside, though, dried beans take a while to reconstitute – depending on how you do it, there’s either a lot of soaking and simmering involved, or a lot less soaking and simmering time and a lot more heat and pressure.Â (Which can be tricky if you don’t own a pressure cooker.Â I don’t.)
But if you plan ahead and just soak the beans overnight, you’ll be ahead of the game; likewise, if you have a slow cooker, making bean-based dishes is a hands-off snap.Â Or you can choose the legumes that don’t require soaking and long simmering: lentils and split peas.Â Mung beans (tiny round green balls with a white seam) are also relatively quick-cooking.Â Since lentils have a more neutral flavor, though – more of a general richness than an earthiness – I chose the brown variety for this dish so as not to overwhelm the delicate flavor of the crab.
Crab & Lentil Soup
Serves 4 for a light lunch.Â This would be a great prelude to a full-fledged Asian dinner, or feel free to add noodles and chicken to round out the soup itself.
1 large yellow or white onion, cut in half and then sliced thinly
3 cups vegetable or chicken broth (if it’s chicken broth, opt for broth made from free-range hens)
1 cup brown or green lentils
3 large carrots, minced
2 cans crab meat (each can is about 6 oz.)
Drizzle of tamari or soy sauce (be sure it’s gluten-free tamari if you’re making a gluten-free soup)
Cooked noodles or whole grains (optional)
Place a medium-sized soup pot over medium heat. Melt a dab of ghee or butter in the pan (or drizzle in a little extra-virgin olive oil) and add the onion. Sautée for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until onion is beginning to caramelize. Pour in broth and lentils. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes. Add carrots and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes. (If you want softer carrots, add them with the lentils.)
Stir in crab and tamari, then take the pot off the fire. If you’d like to add cooked noodles or grains, stir them in and allow the soup to stand for a few minutes to heat everything through. Note: I would not advise cooking the noodles/grains in the soup pot since the starch coming off the noodles/grains will make the soup thick and cloudy…but if you want a thicker, creamier soup, then by all means cook the noodles/grains in the soup pot, adding the appropriate amount of water (for example, if it’s 1/2 cup brown rice, add 1 cup of water) to the broth and adding the noodles/grains at the appropriate time (if the noodles take 8 minutes to cook, add them 8 minutes before the end of the total cooking time).
Garnish with minced green onions and/or parsley if you wish.
Courtesy of The Cultured Cook.
Â© Copyright 2011 Â Allison Stuart Kaplan Â www.Askinyourface.com LLC