gluten free soup

Entrée, Gluten Free, Soup, Winter, Basics

BASICS: EVERYDAY LENTIL SOUP

Your day may be filled with potatoes and pecans and cranberries but dinner tonight may not have crossed your mind. And maybe this is not just a Thanksgiving eve problem, I get stuck with less than exciting options in my fridge to throw a dinner together but I usually have the staples for a simple bowl of lentil soup. I am excited to build up that "basics" section I mentioned and I absolutely believe that lentil soup has a place there. This soup builds off of a dependable mirepoix with the addition of sweet potato. I use two types of lentils for their texture differences and a gentle hand with the spices and then it's hands off while the dutch oven works it comfy, warm meal magic. There is maybe an Indian background from the turmeric and just enough spice to keep it from being bland. Add and get creative as you wish, but hope that this quick soup of pantry staples can make meal time a little easier some night soon. 

EVERYDAY LENTIL SOUP // Serves 4
I did not use two types of lentils to make it complicated for you, I believe they add a different texture and color. The reds will break down and add some heartiness to the broth where the green will hold their individual shape. Both are lovely, but if you find this to be a hassle, go with just green. Once you blend a bit of the soup, the broth with still get some bulk to it regardless. The color will be a little more murky. If you like a bit of heat, add one chopped jalapeno to the vegetable mixture.

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion
1 large carrot, peeled
1 medium sweet potato, peeled
2 stalks of celery
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. sea salt, plus more to taste
1/2 tsp. lemon pepper (or something similar, like Mrs. Dash)
1 tsp. Italian herbs
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes, to taste
1/2 cup green or dePuy Lentils
1/2 cup split red lentils
5 cups vegetable or chicken broth*
1/2 tsp. turmeric
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter or olive oil
3 cups roughly chopped kale

squeeze of lemon, optional
1/2 cup chopped parsley, for garnish
1/2-3/4 cup grated parmesan or something similar (dry and sharp)
fresh, toasted baguette, for serving

In a large dutch oven over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Chop the onion, carrot, sweet potato and celery into roughly 1/4" pieces. Put all of the vegetables, including garlic, into the warm pot with the sea salt and saute until just softened, about 5-6 minutes. Stir in the lemon pepper, Italian herbs, red pepper and both lentils. Add the broth and stir. Turn the heat to low and cover. Cook for 30-40 minutes until everything is tender but not mushy. Using an immersion or regular blender, blend up about half of the soup just so it gets thicker but nowhere close to purees. You still want the texture of the vegetables to come through. Turn off the heat. Stir in the turmeric, butter/oil and kale and stir for the greens to just soften and marry into the soup. Taste for seasoning. 
Serve each bowl with a squeeze of lemon, parsley and generous sprinkle of parmesan. Best served with crusty baguette on the side. 

*Soup texture is a personal preference. I don't really like them stewy, but it's always easier to add liquid than go back. I found five cups to be about right after blending and letting it cool down a bit (where it thickens slightly), you may adjust to taste. 



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Entrée, Gluten Free, Soup, Winter

LENTIL SOUP WITH CHIPOTLE YOGURT

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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.

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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

Salt/ Pepper

1 Lemon

CHIPOTLE YOGURT

1 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt

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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.

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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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