March 29, 2014

That Kind of Day

Oh gosh it's one of those rainy Saturdays when the weather is struggling to decide between winter and spring. It's a stay in your pajamas and catch up on trash TV kind of day. 
My very favorite rainy day meal is Lentil Soup. So easy to make and so filling.  Usually, my ingredients are basically a bag of brown lentils, chopped carrots, celery, onion, and potatoes. Vegetable stock, cumin, salt and pepper. Cooked (until it's all tender) in one of my Falk copper pots the measurements vary by taste and we always finish it off the German way with a few turns of vinegar.

I recently tried this recipe I found on PBS. I changed it around a little because I'm not wild about soup with kale.   

Spinach, Barley, Lentil Soup

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 shallot, minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons pearl barley
  • 6 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 teaspoons ancho chile powder
  • 2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 7 to 8 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth, you may need more if you like it thinner.
  • 2 cups red lentils ( or whatever you have on hand, I often use just a bag of brown lentils...go through them to be sure there aren't any foreign objects. )
  • 8 shiitake mushrooms, sliced ( shiitake mushrooms are so meaty and delicious but forget them if they're not your thing )
  • 1/4 cup ground masa (Masa comes fairly inexpensively in a large bag in the grocery store, I use it for any soup that lends itself to a corn flavor it's definitely optional for the recipe but it is good!! )
  • Several handfuls of fresh spinach (you could use any green like kale, but keep in mind the cooking time to make kale edible!)
  • Tortilla strips
  1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large pot. When the oil is warm, add the shallot; cook until the shallot becomes translucent, about 3-5 minutes.
  2. Mix in the minced garlic cloves, pearl barley, tomato paste, cumin, ancho chile powder and smoked paprika. Cook for about a minute, just enough time for the barley to lightly toast.
  3. Pour in the veggie broth and bring the soup to a simmer. Place a lid on the pot and cook the soup on low heat for 15 minutes, until the barley is barely tender.
  4. Pour in the lentils, mushrooms and masa. Cook for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until the lentils and mushrooms are cooked.
  5. Toss in the spinach and cook for an additional minute, just until it's wilted. Salt to taste.
  6. Divide the soup between bowls. Garnish each soup with a squeeze of lime and a few tortilla strips.
  7.  Bill still added the vinegar, I opted out for this recipe!

I'm also a little sad that I said good-bye to my Mini Cooper S yesterday. Ten years of good fun and faithful service traveling around Italy, Germany, and the east coast.  Time to move into something a little bigger now, after all, this puppy will need room to travel!

'Til next time!

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