Wednesday, February 5, 2014

In the kitchen: Soup on a cold night never disappoints

It's been ages since I've shared a recipe.  To be honest, I haven't cooked much since last summer.  And when I mean cook I don't mean just throw some chicken in the oven and dump a salad in the bowl from a bag...I mean find the recipe, prep the veggies, let stuff saute, sweat, simmer, stir everything together myself, shape the patties by hand, mix the dough myself, etc.  Usually just before dinnertime we are all playing outside, so by the time everyone comes in we're all hungry and I just put together whatever I can find the fastest.  With the cold temps/snow keeping us closer to home and indoors lately I pulled out my soup pot and a favorite recipe.  Cold weather and good soup go hand in hand.  I've been known to quadruple a recipe so my pot is almost overflowing and then freeze small batches for easy dinners down the road.  I've also been eying a new recipe to try and perfectly enough had all the ingredients on hand (including plenty of kale thanks to my newest kitchen toy: the Vitamixer, in which we make green smoothies daily.  But I digress.)  So when it all came together we had a pretty hearty, healthy, meat-free meal (which never happens around here) at dinnertime.  And yes, both dishes were kid-approved (#happymom).

LENTIL SOUP
(from Alton Brown and Food Network)



2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 pound lentils, picked and rinsed
1 cup peeled and chopped tomatoes
2 quarts chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground toasted cumin
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground grains of paradise

Notes: None of my spices were 'freshly' ground.  Grains of paradise is in the same family as cardamom and ginger.  I didn't have grains of paradise so I used 1/4t ginger, 1/4t all spice, and 1/4 star anise.  As for the tomatoes, a whole can (15oz) of diced tomatoes worked fine.  I also had a small amount of wild rice (maybe 1/3c), so I tossed that in as well.

Place the olive oil into a large 6-quart Dutch oven and set over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion, carrot, celery and salt and sweat until the onions are translucent, approximately 6 to 7 minutes. Add the lentils, tomatoes, broth, coriander, cumin and grains of paradise and stir to combine. Increase the heat to high and bring just to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook at a low simmer until the lentils are tender, approximately 35 to 40 minutes. Using a stick blender, puree to your preferred consistency. Serve immediately.

Notes: I did not blend the soup...we liked it chunky.  I did not serve it immediately.  I made everything at naptime and we ate later that evening.  It all came together fine.

KALE QUINOA PATTIES (way better than a veggie burger!)
(http://www.cherylstyle.com/showcase/healthy-kale-quinoa-patties-recipe/)
2 ½ c cooked quinoa, cooled
4 cup kale, cleaned, deveined, chopped small
3 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ yellow onion, diced small
½ cup chives, chopped
½ cup Parmesan, grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil plus more for frying

Combine quinoa, eggs, Parmesan, chives and salt in medium mixing bowl.  Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in skillet on medium heat.  Sweat onions and garlic, approximately 3 minutes.  Add kale to skillet.  Cook until kale is bright green and soft.  Add kale mixture to quinoa.  Add breadcrumbs and stir to combine ingredients.  Place clean skillet on medium heat.  Add enough oil to coat bottom of pan.  Form patties using ½ c of quinoa mixture.  Place patties in skillet being careful not to splash hot oil.  Do not overcrowd the pan.  Fry until golden brown on each side, approximately 5 minutes per side.  Remove patties, drain on paper towel, and serve.  The boys ate theirs with ketchup (of course), Joe enjoyed his plain, and I topped mine with a little babaganoush (Sabra brand is yummy and can be found at Costco.  It makes a great dip!)


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