Cabin life is an interesting adjustment. The nearest grocery store is no longer 6 blocks away but a 20 minute drive. And we have legit snow and ice days where leaving is either impossible or simply strongly discouraged, whether due to fallen trees, icy roads, or Portland’s inability to deal with 1.5 inches of snow. I have been building my pantry. Keeping on hand more of the veggies that that’ll last a few days or a week. It’s a fresh perspective, and while a little less convenient, the shift is welcome.
With the many snow and ice days of the last two weeks, I knew that a couple sturdy pots of soup were in order. Soup is so anchoring: both in the calm repetition of cutting vegetables, and in its nourishment, of ourselves and our friends and our family. A friend mentioned launching a monthly Sunday soup night, for community to come together, support each other, figure out what’s next. No matter the reason, it is the kindest comfort, especially in this busy month with so many obligations, commitments, complex family dynamics, and cookie platters. Take pause, and make soup. Let it be an anchor in this bright and festive season.
LENTIL + BEAN SOUP
This is my version of Sara’s lovely Everyday Lentil Soup. My substitutions are born of a lack of a couple things, and being legitimately iced in. (It’s kind of fun?!?!) Soup is the easiest of recipes to shift based on what’s available. I love her clever incorporation of two kinds of lentils, and the blending of half of it. My immersion blender is still in storage, and like I said, I have a surplus of beans. I love this hearty, protein-rich iteration with the beans and the lentils together, and I know I’ll love her original version too. This is where I used some of the reserved bean cooking liquid as broth. It’s marvelous: rich, hearty, supple, deep. I used half bean broth and half veggie broth. The point is, use what you’ve got. It’s a good month to stretch our flexibility, and work within our parameters.
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1 medium sweet potato, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. sea salt, plus more to taste
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes, to taste
1/2 cup French green or puy Lentils
1 cup cooked beans (or 1/2 cup red lentils, per Sara’s recipe)
5 cups vegetable or chicken broth (or 1/2 bean broth + 1/2 veg broth)
1 teaspoon freshly grated turmeric
3 cups roughly chopped kale
1/2 cup chopped parsley, for garnish
Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, sweet potato and celery and stir. Sauté until just softened, about 5-6 minutes. Stir in the garlic, herbs, red pepper, lentils, and beans. Add the broth and the turmeric and stir. Turn the heat to low and cover. Cook for 30-40 minutes until everything is tender but not mushy. Turn off the heat. Add the kale and stir for the greens to just soften. Taste for seasoning.
Serve each bowl with a squeeze of lemon, and a generous sprinkle of parsley.