This is going to sound like a pretty obvious statement, but I just tried a recipe from Thomas Keller’s ad hoc at home and it was awesome. I had a taste for some Indian flavors, so initially I thought of dahl, but then I came across Keller’s recipe for lentil and sweet potato soup. I had a ton of aging sweet potatoes in my larder, so it didn’t take much convincing.
Start by slowly rendering the fat from a lot of bacon in vegetable oil–I did 9 slices, chopped. After about 20 minutes, add chopped onion, carrots, and leeks. Also add curry powder, and here’s where I improvised, some cumin and garam masala. Cook the vegetables on low heat for 30 minutes and then add 8 cups chicken stock, a bag of lentils, and a sachet of bay leaf, peppercorns, thyme, and crushed garlic. Simmer 40 minutes. I skipped a few of Keller’s fussier steps, like making a parchment lid and removing the bacon for latter crisping and garnishing, but I did boil the sweet potatoes separately with another sachet. This allowed me to keep them from overcooking and disintegrating into the soup–and making it too sweet! Finish with a little red wine vinegar and cilantro.
What is striking about this soup is just how much flavor it has from the get-go. To think it will only get better and more intense! Rounding out this meal: Thai chicken and rice from Saveur served with cucumber, chutney, and yogurt, and spinach sauteed with garlic and garam masala. And later in the week, I’ll roast come cauliflower with similar flavors. A great food week indeed!