Spiced Lentil Soup

Spiced Lentil Soup

Spiced Lentil Soup

Dedicated to my fellow parishioners at the Episcopal Church of St. Luke in the Fields, Greenwich Village, NYC

IngredientsVegan
7 cups Vegetable Broth
2 cups Red Lentils, dry, rinsed
3 cloves Garlic, minced
2 cups Sweet Yellow Onion, diced
2 cups crushed Tomatoes
1/2 cup flat-leaf Parsley, chopped fine
1 cup Celery, diced
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp ground Cumin
1 tsp Zaatar
1/2 tsp Lemon Juice
1/2 tsp ground Marjoram
1/2 tsp ground Coriander Seed
1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1/2 tsp Pepper
1/4 tsp Turmeric
1/4 tsp ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Lemon Zest
1/4 tsp Salt

Lemon wedges

Directions:

  • In a gallon size pot on medium heat, combine the Onion, Salt, Pepper, and Olive Oil; cook until the onions softens.
  • Add the Garlic, Lemon Zest, Lemon Juice, and Celery. Continue to saute until the Celery starts to soften.
  • Add all the other spices, and mix well so that the spices get into the oil and juices in the pot.
  • Add the Tomato, Vegetable Broth, and Lentils; bring to a boil, stirring often so that nothing sticks.
  • Reduce to a simmer, add the Parsley, and let cook until the Lentils become tender.
  • Taste, and adjust the seasoning and spices to your preferred tastes.
  • Garnish with a Lemon Wedge. Squirt the juice on the Soup.

Makes about 6 servings

NOTES:Lentil Soup is eaten in various parts of the world. This recipe utilizes spices from Northern Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. Zaatar a spice blend used in North Africa, especially Egypt and Libya, often added to meats or rubbed in olive oil on flat bread. It is made up of Sumac, Oregano, Sesame Seed, often with other spices.

Lentil soup can be modified to your prefered tastes and needs. You can add chopped spinach or kale, or diced carrots or sweet potatoes. Keep in mind if you add additional starches, you may need to add additional spices. This meal is vegan, however one can add meat like chicken or lamb to it–or even sausage. It is also common to garnish with sour cream or yogurt.

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Roasted Winter Root Soup

Ingredients:
1 med Yellow Onion, diced
4 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Carrot, skinned, chopped
1 Parsnip, skinned, chopped
1 Turnip, skinned, chopped
1 Sweet Potato, skinned, chopped
2 Potatoes, chopped
2 Kielbasa Sausages, sliced in 1 cm thick rounds
6 cups Vegetable Stock/Broth
2 tsp Salt
2 tsp Black Pepper
2 Tbsp Herbes de Provence
2 Tbsp Dill
2 Bay Leaves
2 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Cumin
2 Tbsp Olive Oil

Directions:

  • Preheat the Oven to 400°F.
  • Add all Root Vegetables and Kielbasa to a Dutch Oven, coat with the Olive Oil, Salt, and Pepper.
  • Roast for 10 minutes, stir, and then another 10 minutes.
  • Remove and scrap into a large Soup Pot.
  • Add the Vegetable Stock and heat on high heat until it boils.
  • Add the remaining Herbs and Spices, reduce heat to low heat. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until vegetables are fork tender.

Makes 4 Servings.

NOTES: This is a family recipe from my Slovakian side of the family, originating from Medzev, Slovakia (formerly Metzenseifen).

When chopping the vegetables, think of bite-size/spoon size pieces. You can substitute Mushroom Broth or Chicken Stock for the Vegetable Stock. You can also utilize any other cooked Sausage instead of Kielbasa if you like.

This simple, healthy dish will keep you warm on a blustery winter night.

Soupe à l’oignon – French Onion Soup

Dedicated to my mother who LOVES French Onion Soup, and who introduced it to me.
Vegetarian Variation is dedicated to Abigail Wickes, my favorite vegetari-friend.

Ingredients:
5-6 Vidalia Onions or Sweet Yellow Onions, cut in 1/8″ wedges
3 Tbsp Butter
1/2 cup Sherry
6 cups Beef Broth
2 cloves Garlic, minced
Bouquet Garni – 4 sprigs Thyme, 2 springs Parsley, 2 Bay Leaves, wrapped in twine
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 Baguette, cut in 1/2 inch pieces (about 6 pieces)
2-2 1/2 cups Gruyère, shredded

Directions:

  • Heat a large pot on the stove on low heat, with the Butter, Onions, and Salt.
  • Cook until the Onions start to break down, and turn a warm color, about 10-15 minutes.
  • Add the Sherry (careful of flames), and deglaze any pieces of Onion. Continue cooking for 10 more minutes.
  • Add 1/2 cup of the Beef Broth, and deglaze again. Onions should start turning darker. Continue cooking for 10 more minutes.
  • Add the Garlic, the Bouquet Garni, and the remaining Beef Broth. Taste and add Pepper and/or Salt to taste. Scrape any pieces of onion from the bottom of the pan, and raise the heat to high.
  • Bring to a boil, then lower to medium, and simmer for 30 minutes.
  • After about 15 minutes of simmering, preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Arrange the Baguette slices on a baking sheet, and cook for 8-10 minutes, or just until starting to crisp.
  • When the Soup and Croûtons are finished, remove from heat.
  • Ladle the Soup into oven-safe bowls (1 bowl per person, about 6-bowls), leaving space for the Croûtons to rest on top. Discard the Bouquet Garni when you get to it.
  • Place bowls on the baking sheet; add the Croûtons, and cover with the Gruyère.
  • Turn on the Broiler, and carefully place the baking sheet as close to it as possible. If this is an electric broiler, you will need to raise your rack to the top level PRIOR to turning it on, keeping in mind it will be hot from the making of the Croûtons. If this is a bottom broiler, place in the drawer, and push it in.
  • Broil for about 4-6 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly with a few touches of brown. Be careful removing the baking sheet from the oven, as it and the contents on it will be extremely hot. Serve each bowl on a small plate, so as to help absorb the heat

Serves about 6.

NOTES: Onion Soup is one of the oldest soups that is known, with documents showing its production back to at least the Roman times. In the 1960s there was a resurgence of French cooking, and the “French Onion Soup” hit its American hay-day. Now most diners and steakhouses serve some variation of the soup. What is amazing, is how many actually taste GOOD–folks giving in to high-sodium broths, and dried herbs. This is easily one of my favorite soups.

Variations:
M›Ṽ – Use Mushroom or Vegetable Stock instead of Beef Stock, and add 1 drop of Liquid Smoke to give it a deeper flavor.

Lima Beans & Shallots

Lima Beans & Shallots

Ingredients:
1 large Shallot, minced
1 clove Garlic
1 Tbsp Butter
2 cups Lima Beans (soaked overnight)
1 cup Chicken Broth
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper

Directions:

  • In a skillet on medium heat, sauté the Shallots and Garlic in the Butter, until translucent.
  • Add the Lima Beans, Salt, Pepper and Chicken Broth to the pan.
  • Simmer for 5 minutes, or until beans are tender.

NOTES: Lima beans – pronounced like Lima, Ohio, but probably should be like Lima, Peru. they are also known as Butter beans and several dozen other names. They are a truly tasty Meso-American food.

Variations:
Ṽ›Ɣ – substitute Vegetable Broth for the Chicken Broth; as well as Margarine for the Butter.

Sourdough Dressing

Ingredients:Vegetarian Variation
1 loaf Sourdough Bread, crust removed, cut into 1/2″ cubes (stale is better)
1/4 cup Olive Oil
2 Tbsp Butter
1 large Yellow Onion, diced
4 stalks Celery, diced
5 cloves Garlic, minced
2 Apples, cored and diced
3 Tbsp fresh Sage, finely chopped
1 Tbsp fresh Thyme, finely chopped
3 Eggs
2 cups Chicken Broth (Vegetable is fine for Vegetarians)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Olive Oil for basting the bread (as needed)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350˚F.
  • On a baking sheet, spread the Bread Cubes, and brush Olive Oil over them.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, or until like croutons.
  • In a large sauce pan, melt the Butter into the Olive Oil.
  • Add the Onions and Celery and cook down until Onions begin to break down.
  • Add the Apples, Garlic, Sage, and Thyme to the mixture and let simmer.
  • In a large bowl, beat Eggs and add the Broth, stirring well.
  • Incorporate the Onion-Herb mixture into the Broth.
  • Place the Bread croutons into a greased baking dish.
  • Pour the Broth over the croutons, being sure to get all of it covered.
  • Bake Covered for 30 minutes.
  • Increase temperature to 425˚, uncover and bake for another 30 minutes.
  • Salt and Pepper to taste.

NOTES: If you are pressed for time, Store-bought croutons can be substituted.


Variations:

Brown 1/2 lb Sausage and mix Drippings and Sausage into the Dressing.
Add 1/2 cup diced roasted Chestnuts.
You can make it spicy by adding a minced Jalapeno or two when cooking the Onions.

M›Ṽ: Use Vegetable Broth instead of Chicken Broth.

Cream of Mushroom Soup

Ingredients:Vegetarian
1 Tbsp Butter
2 Tbsp Yellow Onion, minced
1 clove Garlic, minced
5 cups Button Mushrooms, cleaned and diced finely
3 Tbsp White Wine (Pinot Grigio)
1 Tbsp fresh Thyme, finely chopped
1/2 Tbsp Cardamom powder
1/2 Tbsp Dill, finely chopped
1/2 Bay Leaf
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
2 cups Heavy Cream
1 1/2 cups Vegetable Stock
1 tsp Corn Starch

Directions:

  • In a large Sauce Pan on medium heat, combine Butter, Onions, and Garlic. Brown the Onions.
  • De-Glaze with the White Wine
  • Add Mushrooms, and Spices and continue to cook for about 10 minutes.
  • Reserve 1/4 cup Stock to the side.
  • Combine the remaining Stock and Cream to the pot and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Add the Corn starch to the reserved Stock and whisk together so there are no lumps of corn starch. When mixed, add to the soup and continue to simmer until the Soup thickens.

NOTES: You can always modify the types of Mushrooms you want in this Soup.  I prefer to use Pinot Grigio for this recipe because it is not too dry and not too sweet.

Winter Squash Soup

Ingredients:Vegetarian Variation
1/4 cup Butter
1 lg Onion, finely chopped
4 cloves Garlic, minced
12 cups Chicken Broth
8 cups Butternut Squash, skinned, and chopped in squares
1 cup Heavy Cream
1/2 tsp Curry Powder
Croutons (3-4 per serving)
1 cup Green Onion, chopped (for garnish)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • In a large Saucepan, brown Onion in Butter. When nearly translucent, add Garlic.
  • Add Chicken Broth, Heavy Cream, Curry Powder and Squash. Put heat on low.
  • Cook for 1/2 an hour until Squash breaks down. Stir often, and do not let stick to bottom.
  • Garnish with Croutons or Green Onion on top.

NOTES: You can use Acorn Squash or a combination of them. I tend to use frozen prepared “winter squash” as it is easiest to break down when cooking.

Variations:
M-Ṽ: Use Vegetable Broth instead of Chicken Broth