First, goal progress: In bed by 11:30 p.m. Jan 26, Up at 8:30 a.m. Jan 27. In bed by 1:00 a.m. ish Jan 26, Up at 8:55 a.m. Jan 26.
I wasn’t really ready for another batch of lentil soup yet, but it was soup night last night at our VegNet potluck, and I had some French lentils left. I had every intention of making the French Lentil Chili again, but at the last-minute I decided to try a different recipe from Vegan on the Cheap. There were a lot of soups at the potluck, so I didn’t get much feedback on mine, but my husband had some of the batch that I left behind, and said it was the best soup I’d made in a long time. And he doesn’t even like lentils. I made a triple batch so that I’d have plenty for the potluck and some to keep. As a result, it turned out more like a soup than a stew. Any ingredient substitutions or omissions below were because I wanted to use what I had on hand. (Note: It’s a pain in the ass to take hot soup to a potluck. I don’t know what we were thinking. I ended up putting the soup in a crockpot, bungeeing a very thick towel around it, and putting it on the passenger side floor with a bunch of random stuff wedged on top. Luckily, no tragic accident occurred.)
Vegetable Lentil Stew
2 tablespoons olive oil [I’ve been using Canola lately when cooking anything over medium heat or higher]
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried savory
½ teaspoon ground fennel seed [I tried to find the fennel seeds, but I think I ended up using caraway. I used my coffee grinder that is dedicated to flax seed and herbs, etc.]
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
8 ounces brown lentils, picked over, rinsed, and drained [I used French lentils and soaked them overnight, even though I know that it’s not supposed to be necessary with lentils. I think I’m becoming a fan of French lentils now, even though they are more expensive.]
6 cups vegetable stock [I used Rapunzel vegan vegetable bouillon plus went heavy on the herbs since I didn’t have any stock available. As I’ve experimented with cooking over the last few years, I’ve tended to play more with recipes, and not be so concerned about following them to a T. That makes it a little harder to duplicate it the next time, but also keeps it interesting. I think I pretty much used the herbs in the recipe plus a liberal dose of “herbes de provence” that I got at World Market (marjoram, savory, thyme, rosemary, basil, fennel, sage, lavender.) Because of the lavender, this mix just doesn’t work for everything, but I think it went well with this recipe. I may also have added a little nutmeg. Hmm, should write these things down.]
¼ to ½ cup dry red wine (optional)
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes [I like to use Trader Joe’s diced & fire roasted organic tomatoes with organic green chiles. I often add a can of this to my soups]
2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, chopped [I used a large sweet potato]
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 medium parsnip, peeled and chopped [I omitted this because I didn’t have one on hand]
1 celery rib, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
3 cups finely chopped cabbage [I omitted this because I didn’t have any on hand]
- In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic. Cover and cook until the onion is soft, 5 minutes. Stir in the savory, fennel, thyme, paprika, lentils, and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Stir in the wine, if using, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, parsnip, and celery. Add salt and pepper. Increase the heat to bring back to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Add the cabbage. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary. Simmer for about 20 minutes longer or until the vegetables and lentils are tender. Serve hot.