It seems like I’ve been cooking a lot lately. That’s because cooking or baking something is the best way to warm up the house on a chilly day. I’m all about comfort food right now, so I decided to make one of my favorite cold weather dishes- Mexican lentil soup. Ready to start cooking? Here we go!
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Lentil soup is very popular in Mexico during the winter and Lent, and it’s also a popular dish for New Year’s Eve. Besides, lentils are cheap, easy to cook, nutritious, and very filling, so what’s not to like?
A Special Ingredient
What I love about this soup are the plantains. I love plantains! In the southeastern and coastal provinces, plantains are everywhere- fried, mashed, stewed, with soup, with rice, with beans, or with sugared condensed milk for dessert. Fortunately, in Mexico, you can find plantains all year long, which is great because lentil soup just wouldn’t be the same without them.
Start by sifting through a cup of dry lentils to take out any little rocks or debris, much like you would when prepping beans. Then, rinse the lentils well. My mom soaks them overnight, but honestly, I always forget this step. Don’t worry about it, because they also cook well without all that soaking.
Next, cook the lentils in a pot with plenty of water, a small onion, a garlic clove, and salt. They take about 45 minutes to an hour to cook.
While the lentils are cooking, puree a couple of tomatoes, half an onion, a garlic clove, and about two cups of water. Heat a pan and pour this mixture in. Season with salt and pepper and let it simmer for a few minutes until it changes color.
When the lentils are soft, take out the onion and add the tomato mixture and sliced carrots. Let it cook until the carrots are soft.
Finally, when the soup is almost done, add the sliced plantains and let them get a little soft.
Now, wasn’t that easy? Your soup is ready to be enjoyed! Buen provecho!
I love this soup because it reminds me a lot of my grandmother. I have a very fond memory of her welcoming us into her home with a pot of steamy lentil soup on a cold winter day. Like most Mexican abuelas, she was a warm, kind-hearted lady who loved to cook for her family. She would be happy to know my mom and I are still using her recipes.