1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium white onion, peeled and diced
2 medium carrots, diced
5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
6 cups vegetable stock(or chicken stock)
1 1/2 cups red lentils, rinsed and picked over
2/3 cup whole-kernel corn
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon curry powder
zest and juice of 1 small lemon
sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper
Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add onion and carrots and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and translucent. Add garlic and sauté for 1 more minute, stirring occasionally, until fragrant.
Stir in the vegetable stock, lentils, corn, cumin, curry powder (plus saffron and cayenne, if using) until combined. Continue cooking until the soup reaches a simmer. Then cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are completely tender.
Using either a hand blender or traditional blender, puree the soup until it reaches your desired consistency. You may need to do this in batches if you’re using a traditional blender. And always be careful, since hot liquids expand while blending. (I like to leave my soup slightly chunky, but you can make yours as smooth as you’d like.)
Return the pureed soup to the pot, and stir in the lemon zest and juice until combined. Taste and season the soup with sea salt and black pepper as needed.(I used about 1.5 teaspoons salt and 0.5 teaspoon black pepper.)
Serve warm. Or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.