Thick and Chunky Winter Soup with Green Lentils

It’s been blowing a gale and raining cats and dogs, one of those days when you want to batten down the hatches and tuck into a bowl of something hot and sustaining. (Think that’s my quota of meteorological metaphors for one post! What I really wanted to say was: ‘It’s been raining for days in Pigeon Street!’ Anyone remember that?)

So, combined with the fact that I am mid dental treatment and have to be careful what I eat, soup is going to be on the menu quite a bit over the coming evenings.

This one is thick and hearty enough to have as a meal rather than a first course or soup in a mug.

Makes enough for 3-4 servings.

The main thing is to cook it on a low heat, very gently and slowly, so as to maximise the nutritional content.

As always, all veg, oil, etc are organic where possible (the sage is from our garden), carrots have skin left on, all measurements and timings approximate.

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Ingredients

Pre-soak 1/2 Cup Rinsed Green Lentils to make them more easily digested, discarding the soak water before use

Splash of Olive Oil

1 Leek rinsed thoroughly and sliced into rings

3 Medium Carrots, chopped

1 1/2 Sticks of Celery with Leaves, chopped

Half a head Broccoli, chopped, including stalk

1/4 to 1/2 Cauliflower, including stalk, chopped

8-10 Brussels Sprouts, peeled and chopped

Dried Sage + Black Pepper

Optional: 1 Dsp Nut Butter

1 Vegetable Stock Cube + 1 Tsp Yeast Extract and Squirt of Tomato Puree dissolved in approx 600 – 700mls hot water, then cooled a little

Method

Slowly heat oil in large saucepan, don’t let it overheat

Gradually add vegetables, stirring and moving about as you add each handful.

With the lid on, and on a very low heat, gently sweat the vegetables for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally

Add Sage + Black Pepper + Nut Butter, if using

Add the water, enough to just cover the vegetables

Add Lentils

Stir well.

Replace lid and on lowest heat leave to cook for about an hour or until vegetables and lentils are tender.

Do Not Boil!

When ready, allow to cool a little before blending just enough to thicken the soup but leaving chunks of vegetables for colour and bite.

Test seasoning.

I haven’t included any salt because the stock cube, yeast extract and tomato puree all contain salt. If salt is required at the table,  Pink Himalayan Salt is recommended as it retains most of the minerals lost in the processing of normal table salt and no added nasties.

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Bon Appetit!

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Cumin and Have Some Soup!

A spicy, satisfying and nourishing soup to warm your cockles – and everywhere else!

This is my favourite when it’s cold and dark and I’m hungry but don’t know what to have and there isn’t much in the fridge anyway – you know, that day before shopping day?

Serves 2

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It takes about an hour from start to finish.

Ingredients

(All veg, oil and spices are organic, so the peel is left on the carrots and sweet potatoes, if not scrub and peel. All measurements approximate.)

1 Tsp Raw Virgin Coconut Oil

1 Tsp Cumin Seeds

1 Large Onion, sliced thinly

1 Large or 2-3 Small Cloves Garlic, crushed

2 Medium to Large Carrots, scrubbed and sliced

2 Medium to Large Sweet Potatoes, scrubbed and sliced

Half Stick of Celery, scrubbed and sliced

1/3 Cup Orange Lentils, rinsed

1 Vegetable Stock Cube dissolved in approx 600 mls boiling water

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Couple of Splashes Tamari (dark gluten-free soy sauce, a staple in our kitchen)

Fresh Coriander to serve – optional

Method

Melt the oil

Gently toast Cumin Seeds, stirring around so they don’t burn

Ditto Garlic and Onions

Add rest of Vegetables, stir a few times, then add some black pepper

Cover and allow to sweat gently for about 15 mins. stirring once.

Add Lentils, Stock Cube & Water, Tamari.

(Be sure to have enough stock to easily cover the veg as the lentils will soak up some of it)

DON’T BOIL

Simmer very gently on a low heat for about 30 mins. until lentils cooked and vegetables are soft.

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Blend as little or as much as you like – We use a stick blender as we like to leave some whole, but the liquid quite thick

Taste and add more pepper if desired.

You’ll notice there is No Salt on the list. This is because the Stock Cube and Tamari already have it in and the soup can be a little salty if you put extra in. Add it at the table once you’ve tasted if need be. (Pink Himalayan is best as it still contains all the minerals and has no added nasties).

Add Fresh Coriander to serve.

Copyright: Chris McGowan