How does one make soup look attractive? How can one make soup sexy?
I’ve been pushing myself to take ‘sexier’ photos of food lately – keeping my hands out of the shot, cleaning the plates and clearing the background, or adding compelling elements to the shot – but I hit a barrier when trying to photograph my amazing Lentil Soup. It’s spicy, it’s complex, it’s unique from other Lentil Soups. It has a rich, gorgeous color from the red lentils and carrots, and the texture is so smooth and thick that it really is quite sexy. However, when the soup was hot and ready and I poured some into a bowl and pulled up my camera to take a picture, I looked at it and thought ‘Ech’. It looked so flat in a plain blue bowl, and a little sad.
So I changed things up a bit! I found one of my favorite mugs, a little round one that I got in San Francisco while visiting my big sis, and carefully ladled in the soup. Taking a tip from when I worked in restaurant kitchens, I wiped the sides of the bowl clean. Much more presentable. Look at that contrast – Bright, deep orange soup against crisp white ceramic!
Rawr. Fierce, am I right? This Lentil Soup recipe is so easy that I wanted to put a lot of effort into taking great pictures of it. I’m somewhat wiped when I come home after work, and I’m so hungry/hangry/tired by the time dinner is ready that often I will completely forget about taking a good photo until I’m almost finished eating. But with this soup, I still have the energy and attention span to take sexy pics of it when dinner is ready!
All that it takes to make this flavorful, filling Lentil Soup is:
Cooking veggies in a pot…..
Adding stock + water and lentils…..
Blending it all together when the lentils are cooked…..
And then spicing it up!
It may look intimidating to have to make soup and then put it through a blender, but it really wasn’t that much trouble. It’s the only difficult part of the soup, and even then you’re just pushing a button. An immersion blender would have made this process a bit easier – a handheld blending wand that you put right into the soup to puree everything – but everything still went smoothly with a full blender. This Lentil Soup always comes out delicious. It’s so flavorful from the warm spices, and just the right amount of Cayenne to give the soup a heat that builds with each spoonful. The thick texture from the lentils and veggies make this soup rich and filling. And it’s got such a lovely color, you’ll want to set it in a pretty bowl and admire it as you eat.
Recipe for Sexy, Spicy Lentil Soup
1 large Onion, small diced
4 large Carrots, small diced
4 stalks Celery, small diced
3 cloves Garlic, crushed
2 cups Chicken/Veggie stock – Vegetable stock makes this soup Vegan as well as vegetarian!
*Chicken/Veggie broth will work just fine, but use 3 full cups of broth
1 cup Water
1 package (16 oz) Red Lentils, pre-soaked to speed up cooking process
Splash Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoon Cumin
3 Teaspoons Cayenne Pepper
3 Teaspoons Smoked Paprika
1 1/2 Tablespoon Chili Powder
Cook veggies in bottom of a large soup pot with salt. When veggies are thoroughly cooked, add stock and water mixture and lentils. When lentils are *thoroughly* cooked, add crushed garlic and transfer soup to blender (may have to do in batches). If soup is blended before lentils are thoroughly cooked, soup will be clumpy.
Puree soup into oblivion! When you think it’s done pureeing, puree some more. Transfer blended soup back into soup pot and add Cumin, Cayenne, Chili Powder, Smoked Paprika, Lemon Juice, Pepper and more Salt. Use whisk to mix spices into soup, mix spices to taste.