vegetarian lentil soup- revisited


A cold rainy night and a potluck dinner with extended family, old friends and new – that calls for big pots of chile and vegetarian lentil soup. This lentil soup has been my favorite for as long as some of those childhood friendships! It’s healthy and satisfying, smells and tastes great, is inexpensive and easy to make, and a virtual “bottomless pot” as it’s delicious as a thick stew or as you add more water while it simmers to feed more people. Goes great with a glass of red wine or a chilled microbrew, a mixed green salad or a bowl of chips, depending on who shows up.

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ingredients:

  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 medium red potato, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-3 red Serrano or red thai hot peppers, minced
  • 1 medium rutabaga, chopped
  • 1 medium turnip, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 cups lentils, culled and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup brown basmati rice
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 2-3 T each oregano, basil, thyme, and sage to taste
  • 2-3 T red cider vinegar
  • 1 t salt and fresh black pepper to taste, added after soup is cooked
  • Parmesan cheese

instructions:

In large 5 quart soup pot with lid, saute chopped onions and red potato in 2-3 T olive oil. After 2-3 minutes add minced garlic and red peppers, chopped rutabaga, turnip, carrots, and celery, oregano, basil, thyme, and sage, continuing to saute for 2-3 minutes. Add carefully culled and rinsed lentils and basmati rice, stir well. Add canned tomatoes including juice and red cider vinegar. Put 8 cups water on the stove top to heat til near but not boiling, then add 6 cups to the soup pot and stir well. Cover and bring to simmer, then lower heat and cook with lid just slightly cracked open for 1 hour-1.5 hours or so, checking and stirring occasionally. Add more water as it cooks, getting all 8 cups in to create a thick stew, or yet more water to create a thick soup. Test rutabaga, carrots, and lentils for doneness. Once vegetables are soft, lentils and rice fully cooked, add 1 t salt and fresh black pepper to taste. Serve topped with Parmesan cheese. Tastes even better the next day. Freezes well.

turnip, parsnip, red potato soup with roasted pumpkin seeds


The season is changing– I feel it when I tuck into bed at night, and when I watch sunrise these mornings. “Seasons changing I can smell it in the air I can see it in their paintings And I can hear it in the wind, hear it rise and descend Through the many colored trees, forms a many colored breeze Made of many colored leaves, departing ever so gracefully” (Elephant Revival, Ring Around the Moon)…  The Autumnal Equinox is next week, reminding me of work to be done timely, and of the need for balance. My thoughts turn to experimenting making chutney with a friend’s fresh figs (more on that in another post) and to making soup… for an Equinox Party! Thus this experiment with a new fall root soup that fits into a darkness and light/black and white color palette. Yum.

ingredients

  • 4 medium turnips, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium-large parship, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium-large red potato, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1-2t dried rosemary
  • 1/4t salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 2-3 sprigs of fresh lemon thyme from my garden (or 1/2t or so dried)
  • 1/2 cube Celfibr brand vegetable bouillon dissolved in 1c hot water
  • 3-4 additional c water
  • 1/2-1 c milk if desire creaminess

instructions:

Saute onion in large soup pot in 1-2T butter or olive oil for 2 min or so, then add red potato and saute for another 3-4 minutes before adding peeled and chopped turnips and parsnip, rosemary and lemon thyme. Stir well, then add 1c vegetable bouillon broth and 2c fresh water, cover and simmer until vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Check for full softness, then remove from heat, add salt and black pepper. Allow to cool enough to then puree in blender. Adjust consistency with milk unless you’re serving this vegan so use fresh water or additional fresh vegetable broth if you happen to have some on hand. Garnish with roasted pumpkin seeds. Yum!

celery root gruyere au gratin


Having just explored making celery root soup, then raw celery root salad, it’s time to round out my exploration by turning on the oven to bake! It’s cold, and I’m thinking comfort food…so I envisioned a celery root gruyere au gratin. Here’s what I came up with: IMG_3219_2ingredients:

  • 1 medium celery root, cut into 1/8″ quarter rounds
  • 1 small turnip, cut into 1/8″ quarter rounds
  • 1/2 small cauliflower, flowerettes
  • 1 can white kidney beans, well rinsed
  • 6 oz Gruyere cheese, grated
  • 1/4 c Parmesan cheese
  • 1/8-1/4 c milk (I used 2% and wasn’t disappointed)
  • 2-3 T butter
  • freshly ground black or green pepper to taste
  • arugula

instructions:

Lightly butter 2 quart casserole dish, and preheat oven to 365F. Chop ends off of celery root, then cut away outer tough skin to reveal white root. Cut in half, then cut into 1/8″ quarter round slices. Also cut turnip into 1/8″ quarter round slices. Layer half of celery root around bottom of casserole dish as you would potatoes when making potato au gratin. Next layer half of turnip, half of arugula, half of white kidney beans, half of cheeses; then repeat with layers of celery root, turnip, arugula, beans, all of cauliflower, cheeses. Pour scant 1/4 c milk over all, and top with dots of chopped butter, freshly ground black or green pepper to taste. Bake in center of oven, covered for first 25-30 minutes, then uncovered for about 10-15 more, until nicely browned top crust (but not dried out inside).

Revisited: instead of layering in the arugula, I served the baked au gratin on a bed of arugula– I liked that better.

This is not your grandmother’s super rich potato au gratin– if that is what you’re craving, then use more Gruyere, cream instead of 1% fat milk, and 2-4T butter. That said, I thought it was totally satisfying– light yet sustaining with the beans adding protein, and the great flavor of the turnip and arugula complementing the Gruyere. What do you think?

I think if there’s any leftovers, I’d like this for breakfast…