Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Warm-Up Wednesday

So, with the days and nights definitely cooling off at this point, I figured it was time to share one of my favorite soups in one of its many tweakable forms. Last night I made lentil & brown rice soup with mushrooms, carrots, celery, and kale. That's all that was in it, aside from basic spices/seasonings. And it is so delicious, and ridiculously easy and inexpensive to make. It yields quite a lot of food. Besides, I haven't shared a recipe in a while!

Start by filling a nice-sized soup pot up to about halfway-full. Pour in 1 1/2 cups of green lentils (or your lentil of choice-- I like those because they have great flavor, lots of fiber and protein, and they are only around $1.39/lb. for organic bulk lentils) and 1 cup brown rice (also inexpensive, at around $1.69/lb. for organic bulk rice). Let those boil for a few minutes, then reduce heat and let cook for about 20 minutes or so. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt initially, preferably sea salt. Toss in a couple of bay leaves and let it get to work. Meanwhile, cut up about 4 carrots (or more or less, depending on your preference-- I just love the right amount of carrots in my soup). Take about 2 stalks of celery and chop them, also. Side note, for cost: I can usually find a 5 lb. bag of carrots for around $2.99 at Whole Foods, and a head of celery is about $2.79. (These are for organic prices.) I stopped by Kroger and found marked-down mushrooms, so I used a whole container in my soup-- they were only $0.99! I also love mushrooms in this soup. Throw all that in, along with a dash of oregano, savory, and garlic powder, and white ground pepper (you can use black pepper if it's all you have, but the white pepper lends such a unique flavor that goes so well with the brothy base of this soup). I also took a few small garlic cloves and chopped them for the soup. This is NOT too much garlic. It is barely discernable, but necessary to pull the flavors together. I also took a few leaves of lacinato (a.k.a. dinosaur) kale and coarsely cut them with my kitchen scissors. It's a beautiful dark green color, full of nutrients. Add it last so it doesn't overcook and retains it lovely green in this soup. If you don't have kale, throw in a few handfuls of baby spinach instead, as it also works wonderfully in this soup. If it gets too thick for your taste, just add more water and a pinch more salt to taste.

This soup is perfect for anytime. It's a great fall/winter dish, and can be served alone or with bread or salad or whatever you'd like! Enjoy!

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