Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Rhubarb Lentil Soup with Creme Fraiche

Want to try something different with your rhubarb this spring?  Make this soup!  I cut this recipe out of Cooking Light magazine a couple of years ago because it sounded so interesting and I finally got around to making it this year.

I was at the farmer's market this weekend and the rhubarb looked really good!  I bought a bunch, so I had enough to make this soup, plus a little extra that I chopped and froze for a more typical strawberry-rhubarb crumble or pie later this spring (maybe using the strawberries out of my garden, if they would hurry up and grow already).

This is a very healthy soup!  It has lots of veggies, plus protein-packed lentils.  There is a lot of chopping initially, but the soup cooks pretty fast once you get going.  The Co-op didn't have any red onions that day, so I substituted a yellow onion and it was fine.  Instead of fat-free, low sodium chicken broth, I used Joe's mom's turkey stock.  You could also use vegetable stock or broth (which makes more sense actually, when you consider that the rest of the soup is meat-free).

You top the soup with a dollop of creme fraiche - so yummy.  Creme fraiche is cream that has been cultured, so it's a little tangy, and it has the consistency of sour cream.  The recipe actually has you stir together creme fraiche and dill, of all things.  SICK.  That is the one herb I loathe.  I was actually going to suck it up and buy some for Joe's sake, (and not allow it to come in contact with any of my other groceries of course), but they were out at the Co-Op.  What an absolute shame.

Rhubarb-Lentil Soup with Creme Fraiche
adapted from Cooking Light - May 2008 issue
serves 6

1 1/2 cups boiling water
3/4 cup dried petite green lentils
Cooking spray
2 cups finely chopped carrot (for me that was about 3 large carrots)
1 3/4 cups finely chopped celery (about 4 stalks)
1 1/2 cups finely chopped red onion (about one large onion)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 cups chopped rhubarb (about 12 ounces)
4 cups fat-free, less sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
6 tablespoons creme fraiche
Dill sprigs (optional)

Put the lentils into a small bowl, and pour the boiling water over them.  Let stand 10 minutes.

Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat and coat the bottom with cooking spray.  When hot, add the carrot, celery, onion, and parsley.  Sauté for about four minutes, then add the rhubarb, and sauté for another three minutes.  Drain lentils and add to pan.  Stir in the chicken broth and salt, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 35 minutes, or until lentils are tender (ours were done after about 20, maybe we simmered too fast?  Still tasted fine to us!)

Move the pan off the heat and let cool for about five minutes.  Blend about 3 cups of the soup in a blender or food processor.  Remove the center piece of the blender lid to allow steam to escape, and cover with a clean kitchen towel to avoid splatters (OR use an immersion blender and just blend about half of the soup right in the pan).  After you return the pureed soup to the pan, and add the pepper.

In a small bowl, combine the chopped dill and creme fraiche.  Ladle the soup into bowls, and top with a dollop of the creme fraiche mixture.  Garnish with dill sprigs, if you want.

Serving size = about 1 1/3 cups soup with 1 tablespoon creme fraiche mixture.


  1. Totally going to make this tomorrow. I had rhubarb in my fridge wondering what the heck I was going to make.

    And, HOW CAN YOU NOT LIKE DILL?! I guess this explains the pickles thing even more.

  2. Ha! I think dill is the true reason why I don't like pickles (which means I might actually like sweet pickles if I tried them, but I'm not ready to cross that bridge just yet). I only just made that connection a few years ago. I was growing mixed herbs in my Aerogarden and after doing a little pruning, I smelled my fingers and they smelled just like pickles! I was so grossed out! Then I realized that dill was the culprit and it all made sense.

  3. It does have a strong flavor. But I like it! Especially canning dilly beans in the summer, I will be sure to not ask you to come over when I'm doing that! :-)

  4. Eww, yeah I wouldn't be interested in helping you with that. :-) But if you can anything else I'd love to help! I've never done any canning before.


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