Red Lentil Soup with Ricotta Dumplings
A rather too spicy red lentil soup with a delicious ricotta dumpling, adapted from Peter Berley's The Flexitarian Table.
Berley's Flexitarian cookbook provides flexible menus that cater to "vegetarians, meat lovers, and everyone inbetween". The idea is that you can simultaneously prepare meat and vegetarian dishes without having to prepare totally separate meals (can someone please explain this efficient concept to my two children!). So my adapted recipe for ricotta dumplings comes from a menu of Baked Fish/Ricotta Dumplings over French Lentils.
Recipes/Flexitarian menus are organized seasonally. And I was excited to see some truly novel sounding vegetarian dishes, such as "Lentil & Rhubarb Curry with Potatoes and Peas", "Penne with Beets, Goat Cheese & Walnuts", "Phyllo Pie with Lemon Tofu, Winter Greens, and Mushrooms", and "Seitan Cholent" ( a Jewish braised dish). Although I only cook vegetarian dishes, I found Berley's approach fresh and inspiring. I have to say, however, that I don't think the book's food photos capture the recipes in all their glory.
I loved the idea of the ricotta dumplings and my adaption worked out quite brilliantly ( I made them as separate items rather than baking them over lentils in Berley's recipe, although I'm sure this would be excellent too.). I can imagine using these and variants on them in many stews and soups.
As I said, my red lentil soup was rather too spicy due to a large dose of jalapenos. So cut back on the jalapenos to enjoy the dumpling flavor in all it's glory. These would be a delicious addition to many vegetarian soups.
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup ricotta
salt and pepper
pinch of Herbes de Provence
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp olive oil
Preheat the oven to 375. F degrees. Beat the egg. Blend in the breadcrumbs and the ricotta. Season, add the herbs and the lemon juice.
Cover a baking sheet with foil. Oil the foil with a teaspoon of oil. Form the mixture into small dumplings and place on the oiled foil. Drizzle the top of the dumplings with remaining oil and season additionally if desired. Bake for 15-20 minutes until cooked through and lightly browned.
Red Lentil Soup
2 tbsp olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
3 carrots, sliced
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 sweet red pepper, diced
4 baby yukons, diced
1 cup vegetable broth
3 cups water
1/2 cup red lentils
2 TBSp chopped nacho jalapenos
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp curry powder
1 tbsp tomato paste
Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan and saute the shallots over low heat for 6 minutes. Add the carrots, sweet potato, and potato, stir well, cover, and cook 8 minutes. Add the sweet red pepper and cook 2 additional minutes.
Add the vegetable broth, water and lentils, turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and add the cumin, coriander, jalapenos, and tomato paste. Simmer for 15 minutes, partially covered. Salt. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup.
Serve soup in a 6-80z bowl with 1-2 dumplings.