Sunday, April 29, 2012

Lentil Soup with Curried Brown Butter

It was a dreary day in NC yesterday. Cloudy, chilly and windy. Even though we are several days into spring, I was in the mood for soup! Since I still have a large amount of lentils in the pantry (from a shopping spree at the local Indian market), I decided to make one of our favorite soups - Green Lentil Soup with Curried Brown Butter. This is another Heidi Swanson recipe that I have tweaked a bit to our liking.

Lentil Soup with Curried Brown Butter


Lentils are one of my favorite ingredients to cook with. I like to make them on Sunday to have for lunches throughout the week. They are very easy to make, cheap to buy and healthy to eat! Lentils are actually seeds from an annual plant part of the legume family and come in many different types. Unlike other dried beans, these do not need to soak overnight before cooking and will absorb the flavor of whichever liquid cooked in. I usually cook lentils in broth to enhance the flavor.

Lentil Soup with Curried Brown Butter

In this case, it was vegetable broth and I had split peas (which can be substituted for green lentils if you can't find them). I had some spring onions left over that I added to the onion and garlic.

If you are new to curry, I encourage you to experiment with it. Curry has become a staple in my kitchen, as Ryan and I really love bold flavors. Start with the basic curry powder in your grocery store and then go from there. I have found that the grocery store bought curry powder is actually very mild compared to authentic curries. So if you are new to the flavor, this is a great place to start. This soup really is fantastic! Please don't let the word "curry" or "lentil" hold you back. Try it out and let me know what you think of the combination of flavors!

Lentil Soup with Curried Brown Butter

Yields: 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45-60 minutes

2 tablespoons ghee or butter
1 small red onion, chopped
2 spring onions, green parts removed and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 1/2 cups dried green lentils (can also use dried
5 1/2 cups vegetable broth, water or mixture of both
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons curry powder
Plain yogurt

In a large soup pot, melt the ghee (or butter) and add in the onions and garlic. Saute until the onions have softened a bit, about 5 minutes. Add in the red pepper flakes and curry powder, stir well and saute for another 1 minute until very fragrant.

Lentil Soup with Curried Brown Butter

Add in the lentils (or split peas) and stir to mix in with onions and butter. Stir in the broth/water and cover the pot. Cook on medium heat for at least 30 minutes, or until the liquid has been absorbed by the lentils. This took almost 50 minutes for me.

Lentil Soup with Curried Brown Butter

When you are close to the end of cooking time for the lentils, melt the unsalted butter in a small saute pan over medium heat. Cook until a nutty fragrance comes out. Stir in the curry powder and cook for a minute or two longer while stirring constantly. Be careful not to burn anything!!

Once the lentils are cooked through, remove from heat and leave the lid off the pot. Serve with a small spoonful drizzle of the curry browned butter, yogurt and chives. You can also top with bacon or pancetta as I did in this picture.

Lentil Soup with Curried Brown Butter


  1. This is a fantastic soup and I like your changes and additions - can't wait to make it again.

  2. I'm not a fan of peas but this looks like a yummy dish, especially for a dreary, cold day ... like we had in J-town this weekend!

    1. I am not a pea fan either and have never liked split pea soup, until I came across this recipe. The curried brown butter makes this dish!! Try it out and let me know if it changes your mind about peas!

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