I generally have a lot to say, but this week has been different. Since last Friday’s horrific events, I have sat down to write something here a number of times, but I haven’t been able to string words together in any sort of meaningful way. I hope it goes without saying that my thoughts are with everyone touched by the tragedy in Newtown, though. I am so very sorry for your loss; I am also amazed and inspired by your strength and grace.

It’s never been more clear to me than now that when the world scares and saddens me, I retreat to my kitchen. It’s a place where things make sense. It’s where I feel happy and safe.

As you can probably imagine, and maybe like many of you, I’ve busied myself more than ever in the kitchen this week. I’ve made batch after batch of this toffee, as well as a slew of cookies. These were gifts for teachers and others who make a difference in my family’s world…they are small tokens, but they’re infused with love…love I hope the recipients will feel this year more than ever before.

As for this lentil soup (that I adapted from the wonderful Nourished Kitchen), I believe meals built around foods like this provide vital nutrition and much needed comfort during trying times. Many of us surely need that right now…

Recipe for Nourishing Lentil Soup

Yield: about 6 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes (+ optional 8 to 12 hours for soaking the lentils)

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Two "notes" about this recipe:

-Lentils do not need to be soaked before use, but doing so makes them more digestible and gives your body greater access to the nutrients they contain. It's best to soak them in water to which some acid (such as apple cider vinegar) has been added.

-When adding wine to recipes, make sure to use one that you enjoy! I chose a full-bodied red from a local vineyard...and had a glass (or was it two?) while I was cooking.

Ingredients:

*1 1/2 cups French green ("Puy") lentils
*2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (optional- if soaking the lentils)
*2 tablespoons olive oil or pastured butter or bacon fat (or combine the fats to your liking: I used 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of pastured bacon fat)
*1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
*2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
*2 stalks celery, preferably organic, finely chopped
*2 scrubbed carrots, preferably organic and peeled if not, chopped
*6 cups homemade stock (vegetable or poultry: I used the stock I made with my Thanksgiving turkey carcass) or water, plus more if necessary to thin out the finished soup
*2 bay leaves
*2 handfuls of greens, roughly chopped (such as kale, collards, or mustard greens; I used mixed "winter" greens from a local farm)
*1/2 cup red wine
*Your best olive oil (I love Nudo Olive Oils), plus aged balsamic vinegar for drizzling on top of individual servings of the finished soup
*Freshly ground black pepper and coarse sea salt to taste (you might not need any salt if your stock was salted)

Directions:

1. Rinse and pick over the lentils in a colander over the sink. If soaking them, place them in a bowl and cover with water. Add apple cider vinegar, stir well, and allow the lentils to soak for 8-12 hours. Strain the lentils in a colander and rinse them thoroughly.

If not soaking the lentils, go right to step #2.

2. In a large pot, saute onions and garlic in olive oil (or oil with butter or bacon fat) over medium heat for a minute or two.

3. Add the chopped celery and carrots and cook, stirring them around, for a minute or two more.

4. Add lentils and stir all the ingredients around, then add the stock or water and the bay leaves.

5. Bring to a boil, skim any foam off the top of the soup, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 40 minutes, or until lentils and vegetables are very tender. Add the wine and cook for 5 minutes more.

6. Remove from heat and stir in the greens. Allow about five minutes for them to wilt completely.

7. Ladle the soup into bowls, douse with some olive oil and vinegar, and sprinkle with black pepper (and coarse sea salt to taste) before serving. I eat soups like this with gluten-free crackers and generous amounts of good, strong cheese.

Adapted from Nourished Kitchen...head over to Jenny's great site to read all about the health benefits of lentils.

These posts from fellow bloggers made me cry and think a lot this week; I hope you can set aside some time to read them:

Noah Pozner: Force of Nature
My Newtown
The Blessing of Extraordinary People
On Newtown
After Newtown
It Might Get Loud
Light in the Darkness
“You Must Go On, I Can’t Go on, I’ll Go On…”

 

19 Comments

  1. 1

    LiztheChef — December 20, 2012 @ 1:49 pm

    Well said, dear Winnie. I think there has been a lot of soup-making recently. Wishing you and your family a peaceful holiday season. X0 Liz

  2. 2

    Antonio — December 20, 2012 @ 2:34 pm

    Do lentils really require that much soaking time?

    • Winnie replied: — December 20th, 2012 @ 2:45 pm

      Antonio,
      As I explained above, lentils don’t need to be soaked, but they do benefit from it. I recommend soaking them in order to benefit from all the nutrients they offer, and definitely if you find you have trouble digesting legumes. I don’t always soak them, though…sometimes I forget!

  3. 3

    Laura (Tutti Dolci) — December 20, 2012 @ 9:29 pm

    Soup is the ultimate comfort, this looks wonderful, Winnie!

  4. 4

    The Wimpy Vegetarian — December 21, 2012 @ 12:48 am

    Lentil soup is a favorite of mine, and I too have found some solace by spending time in the kitchen this week. Thanks so much for sharing the links. Happy holidays.

  5. 5

    Hannah — December 21, 2012 @ 6:10 pm

    This is indeed a bowl of comfort, Winnie. I’ve kept myself very busy in the kitchen this week – it helped quiet my mind and was good to focus on something tangible. Thank you for sharing your words and these other posts, too.

  6. 6

    Enjoying these last days of 2012 « Enjoying Each Moment — December 21, 2012 @ 10:58 pm

    [...] to make this yummy lentil soup while it’s chilly [...]

  7. 7

    Stacy — December 22, 2012 @ 7:23 pm

    Winnie, thank you for this delicious soup recipe. (I’m hungry for dinner right now and it looks so good & comfy, LOL!) By the way…wanted to tell you that your One Simple Change piece on dairy was excellent, well written and informative. I follow Paleo and enjoyed your insights on raw. Although I am non-dairy, I do eat fermented dairy. How wonderful that you are writing a book! I will definitely add it to my nutrition library. About wheat…have you ever baked with einkorn flour? I’m just about ready to get started and am learning more about it. However, I am pretty much grain free–that is, with the exception of tasting my traditional and gluten free baking with recipe development, LOL. Best wishes for a joyous and meaningful holiday season and New Year! xoxo (hugs & kisses for Leo, too!)

    • Winnie replied: — December 30th, 2012 @ 8:28 pm

      Hi Stacy,
      I haven’t yet baked with Einkorn flour but I really want to! I can’t find it around here but I am going to order some from amazon really soon. I bet you our diets are fairly similar…I call my diet “paleo-esque” because I do eat just a bit of gluten and other grains :)

  8. 8

    Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe — December 27, 2012 @ 2:46 pm

    Winnie, this soup looks lovely. I’m adding it to my winter soup-making schedule! Hope you had a wonderful Christmas. Happy (almost) new year!

  9. 9

    JulieD — December 31, 2012 @ 5:41 pm

    Looks so beautiful, Winnie! Hope you and yours had a wonderful holiday season and your 2013 is a great year! My heart continues to go out to those affected by the Newtown tragedy. xoxo

  10. 10

    Fiona — January 1, 2013 @ 2:59 pm

    My family had turkey as part of our Christmas dinner, and I was debating with myself on whether to make stock from the carcass. Luckily I saw your recipe and it pushed me into action! Thank you for the reminder of how easy and resourceful it is to make homemade stock!

  11. 11

    Cheryle Potterf — January 7, 2013 @ 1:05 pm

    Hi! This recipe looks great. I’m new to cooking with lentils, so I’m wondering if I can substitute red lentils for the green?

    Thank you!

    • Winnie replied: — January 10th, 2013 @ 10:17 pm

      I personally wouldn’t use red lentils in this particular soup, but that doesn’t mean they won’t work here. Hope you give them a try!

  12. 12

    Julia — January 31, 2013 @ 2:52 pm

    I was looking for a lentil soup recipe to try out and saw yours. It looks delicious. I was wondering have you ever tried freezing lentil soup? I like trying to make a little extra for leftovers, lunches, or a busy night and I am not sure how lentil soup would hold up in the freezer.

    • Winnie replied: — January 31st, 2013 @ 8:53 pm

      Hi Julia,
      I freeze all my soups, including lentil soup, and they are all fine when defrosted. Hope you give it a try!

  13. 13

    Kirstin from ourGFfamily — May 4, 2013 @ 4:27 pm

    I really really relate to your saying…
    “It’s never been more clear to me than now that when the world scares and saddens me, I retreat to my kitchen. It’s a place where things make sense. It’s where I feel happy and safe.”

    It is hard to know what to do when things veer off course and tragedy strikes but making dinner and cooking seems to make things feel normal and somehow okay even though it all seems unbearable.

  14. 14

    Meal Plan Monday #26 - We Got Real — July 1, 2013 @ 8:01 am

    [...] Dinner:  Nourishing lentil soup (with garden collards and carrots),fruit [...]

  15. 15

    Natalie — March 8, 2014 @ 6:58 pm

    This soup looks SO delicious! I’m a big fan of lentil soup as my spanish grandma was a goddess in the kitchen and loved to make soups. But I’m always looking for new lentil soup recipes, now that I love to cook myself. So I will def give this a try very soon. Thanks!!

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