Monday, January 27, 2014

it's time for soup

for me the only thing more comforting than wrapping my hands around a hot cup of soup when it's eight freaking degrees outside (this week in virginia we are between the second and third polar vortex of the season which are seriously testing this native californian's cold hardiness) is the actual making of the soup.  i am one of those people who gets all zen when it comes to chopping and dicing and sauteing and caramelizing and simmering.  i want to convince everyone to never ever ever eat canned soup again (because ew).  plus i love it when the kitchen smells like love.

lentil soup is pretty much my all-time favorite.  i also love a spicy spinach-white bean soup that i wrote about here.  either one can be made vegan or vegetarian or animal by choosing vegetable or chicken broth or even adding in some chicken.

french lentil and potato soup
use organic ingredients if you can, even the olive oil, butter and broth

one tbsp. olive oil
one tbsp. butter
one sweet onion, finely sliced
six cloves garlic, finely diced
two carrots, diced
one-half to two lbs. potato, diced (any kind of potato, skin left on.  i like sweet potato or fingerlings)
one cup french lentils, rinsed (green or puy lentils, they don't mush out like other lentils)
two 32 oz. cartons low sodium vegetable or chicken broth (or six-to-eight cups homemade stock)
two tsp. turmeric
one tbsp. herbes de provence
one tsp. roasted chili powder
one tsp. cumin
two bay leaves
salt and pepper


  • heat olive oil and butter (you can use all oil if vegan) in large soup pot (you may need to add more, you want to cover the bottom surface of the pan
  • caramelize onions on medium-low heat (about eight to ten minutes)
  • turn heat up to medium-high
  • add garlic and cook about three minutes
  • there should be a tiny bit of oil still in the pan, if not add a bit along with the turmeric, hdp, chili powder and cumin; stir until spices are incorporated into onion-garlic-oil; season this layer liberally with salt and pepper
  • add the carrots, lentils and potatoes and let them cook for a few minutes before you add stock (this is my favorite part, it's so pretty here because i used white, red and purple fingerling potatoes)

  • add a bit of stock and carefully deglaze the pan
  • add the rest of the stock, stopping at your desired spot on the stew-to-soup spectrum
  • bring to a boil
  • cover, reduce heat and simmer on low for twenty to thirty minutes
  • potatoes and carrots should be soft, but lentils will still have a chewy bite to them
  • salt and pepper to taste
curl up, get warm, feel loved.