Saturday, October 2, 2010

Best soup I've ever had

Ok, so I'm prone to hyperbole, but this is really good soup!

Mississippi is a strange place in those in-between-season times. It no longer hits 90, but it's not, em, cold, yet you wouldn't necessarily know that by the way some people dress. I saw a girl with a coat+faux fur-lined hood yesterday. Really However, I do get that after months of hardly even seeing 75 in the middle of the night, you sort of jump at the chance to even think about tights, scarves (even summer scarves...), boots, cardigans, etc. And to be fair, I guess I do it too - considering I set out to make some kind of lentil soup yesterday. 

I scoured the internet, finding nothing particularly appealing for about an hour for one reason or another. I had totally forgotten about Heidi over at 101cookbooks (fantastic website), until yesterday during my quest when I stumbled upon this little gem. I didn't have any shallots, and to be honest I don't really get shallots. They're something that you "get", aren't they? Like, they're in a different echelon of cooking - a French echelon, I think - and I just haven't used them enough to appreciate them. I don't have a problem with them, but I don't understand their necessity I suppose. Anyway, I didn't have any, but I really liked the looks of the recipe. I also had some carrots, and a red onion, and some garlic, and I hate black olives, and I didn't have almonds. Clearly this soup wasn't going to be what Heidi had in mind. But, that's OK. I'm becoming much more comfortable with my culinary sense these days, so I decided to venture a bit away from the fold...

...and this is what I came up with.

Red Lentil and Brown Rice Soup based on Heidi Swanson's Red Lentil Soup Recipe

1/2 medium/large red onion, diced
1/2 medium/large yellow onion, diced
1 medium carrot, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pinch red pepper flakes
olive oil - as much as you prefer to use to cook the above

6 cups vegetables stock or broth or water with vegetable bouillon cubes 
1 1/3 cup red lentils (picked through and rinsed)*
1/2 cup brown rice (picked through and rinsed)*
salt or Sel Fou**

  • *note* I soaked these. I realize you don't have to soak red lentils, but I figured it would speed up the whole process, especially with the brown rice, and it certainly did.
  • **note** This stuff is amazing. AMAZING. I think it really made the soup - I would recommend making yourself a large jar of it and putting it on e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g.

crumbled feta
julienned or shredded apple (1 sweet, crisp apple should be plenty for the whole recipe)
optional lemon juice solution to soak the apples in to keep them from browning if you will serve this later or if you are particularly concerned about their appearance

  1. Warm oil in pot large enough to make a hearty portion of soup in
  2. add onions and carrots and allow to cook until the onions begin to brown, stirring occasionally 
  3. add garlic and red pepper flakes, cook until onions caramelize a little
  4. add vegetable stock, bring to boil
  5. add lentils and rice, simmer until rice is tender - lentils will collapse into a thick mush (yum!)
  6. taste and adjust seasoning, add salt and/or sel fou until it tastes like something!
  7. serve with crumbled feta and a generous serving of apple
Pictures coming soon!