Sunday, October 19

Winter Soup for a Summer Day

Every now and then I make something so good I surprise myself. Take, for example, this simple lentil soup I whipped up out of desperation when the cupboards were essentially completely bare (see previous post) and I was looking ahead to three days of nonstop work.

I don't particularly like lentils, and I don't especially enjoy making soups, but inspired by Vegan YumYum's post on making vegetable stock, I decided to brave the world of stockpots and slow simmers.

This soup is terribly wintery, which would be wonderful if it weren't 78 degrees and sunny in San Francisco! Still, soups are nourishing, and that just doesn't go out of season. You can choose to omit the wine, but a) then you're really missing out, and b) make sure you add an extra 1/2 cup of broth or water, and finish the soup with a few tablespoons of rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar.

1 red onion, chopped
2 carrots, halved and thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cups dry lentils
7 1/2 cups water or broth
1/2 cup white wine
1 acorn squash
Seasonings: I used cumin, oregano, chili paste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Heat a nice dollop of oil in a large stockpot. Add onions and carrots, cook part way, then add garlic and cook until everything is tender and fragrant. Add the lentils and a healthy spoonful of chili paste, stir to coat, then add cooking liquid, wine, and seasoning to taste (I did about 2 T crushed oregano and a whole lot of sea salt and cracked pepper). Let simmer about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, halve acorn squash, scrape out seeds, rub with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and cumin, and roast for about half an hour. When tender, remove, peel, and chop.

When lentils are nearly tender (and liquid is nearly gone) scoop out a cup or two and puree with a bit of water. Add back to stockpot along with acorn squash and maybe 1 more cup of water/broth. Heat through and dish up.

Serve with parmesan toasts, a smooth and full white wine, and a good novel.


Erik said...

Some of the best soups I have ever made have been born of the same desperation. I once made a soup using nothing but pork cutlets, oranges and fennel seeds, with a broth made from boullion cubes, and I was utterly surprised at how good it was.

pb said...

mmm! i've been thinking about venturing into the world of soups for my silly stomach, and that one sounds like something manageable! :)

Allison said...

I'm going to try to venture into soups (& freezing some) so when winter rolls around I'll have soup + biscuits.
Is Parmesan toast as simple as it sounds?

cmoore said...

Erik - I think I'll enjoy cooking soups more when I come to terms with just how easy they can be. A bit of this, a touch of that, and you have a fabulous meal -- it seems to good to be true!

pb - I presume you'll be leaving out the wine? Pity... :(

Allison - Yes! I lightly toasted whole grain bread under the broiler, then flipped it, added a nice coat of parmesan, and broiled until the cheese melted. Cut into decorative shapes and enjoy.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Lentil soup is one of my go-to fall and winter dishes. I can never got enough. In fact, I haven't made any in over a week, so thanks for the delicious reminder. :)

Elizabeth said...

i have all those ingredients and desperatley needed a way to share an acorn squash for two... mmmm...soup. and i love lentils.

cmoore said...

Susan - A week! You're one of those soup mavens, aren't you? Figures. I hope to expand my soup repertoire this "winter" (ironic, no, after I move from east to west?)

Elizabeth - That's the great thing about soup -- so easy with whatever you have on hand. I had a bad experience with a neverending lentil salad this summer, but I'm slowly befriending the humble lentil yet again.


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