We had our inaugural rain here in southern California. That means it is now permissable to lug out your big cast iron pot and get creative. I adore how heavy my soup pot is; so sturdy and ready to take on whatever you care to throw in. There is something about soup that seems emotional to me. It reminds me of so many tender moments, whose only common thread is actually soup itself. It's a cozy and comfortable food, lending itself to good company and conversation while inside from cold weather. That is what I find so wonderful about food, that there is something so sensual about it, you can be brought back to an exact circumstance and relive it... the people, the ambiance, how you felt...all initiated by what you ate.
I introduced Hugh to the refined pairing that is grilled cheese and roasted tomato soup, years ago. We sat on his porch while he was living in San Diego, you could see neighbors walking on the boardwalk, it was dusk and just chilly enough to wear a sweatshirt (the best weather as far as I'm concerned). I picked up groceries from Whole Foods on my way down, something quick, as the college man kitchen is not the ideal working space. Fresh grainy bread and water packed mozzarella, the soup came from a box and he was still impressed. It was so simple but so perfect, years later when we make it for a quick lunch, I still find it romantic. Yes, soup from a box... but it doesn't seem to be about the soup.
I'm fairly certain you can get a few days worth of fiber from one bowl. It's healthy, I will say that much, so be generous with your 'dollop' of chipotle yogurt. I also highly suggest adding the greens when all is done, as I mention in the directions, the color is so much more a vibrant green than the overcooked alternative.
LENTIL SOUP WITH CHIPOTLE YOGURT // Serves 6
2 Cups Lentils (French or Black Beluga)
1 Yellow Onion, Diced
1 Fennel Bulb, Diced
1 tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Cup Brown Rice, Cooked (any whole grain will work)
6 Cups Organic, Low Sodium Vegetable Stock
1 tsp. Cumin
1 Large Bunch of Kale, Chard or Combo of Leafy Greens
1 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt
1 Chipotle Chile in Adobo, Chopped (no more than 2 tsp.)
1. Cook your rice or desired grain and set aside. Boil about four cups water, and boil the lentils for 20 minutes until cooked. Add water as needed. Drain.
2. In a large soup pot, saute the yellow onion and the fennel in the olive oil for about 8 minutes, or until just starting to turn light brown. Add the stock and cumin. Bring the heat back up to a gentle boil, about 10 minutes.
3. Add the lentils and the brown rice and simmer about 10 minutes. While you are waiting, stem your greens and slice them into thin strips. Taste the soup for salt and pepper, add seasoning as desired.
4. Turn off the heat and add in the greens, stir. The greens will wilt in the hot soup, and avoid overcooking this way. Stir in the juice of half the lemon, add more to taste.
5. Mix the greek yogurt with the chipotle chile and stir. Serve the soup with the dollop of the chipotle yogurt. Warning, chipotles are pretty spicy, so start with a small amount of sauce and you can add if you like it hot. If too spicy, add more yogurt.
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