by Amy Chaplin
Warming soups and stews are all I can think about since the weather’s cooled and firmly planted its foot in fall. Even if you don’t cook, there is a change in focus and a desire to nourish, warm and ground yourself. This soup does it all and although most vegetables will work for this recipe, the sweetness of winter squash really enhances the flavor of the spices.
Here I used 3 types of lentils, they all play a different roll in creating a delicious texture: the red lentils almost completely dissolve and thicken the soup; the green add a creamy texture; and the French lentils remain intact and keep the soup looking pretty.
This recipe makes quite a bit of soup. It keeps well for at least 3 days and you will be happy to have it on hand for a cozy lunch or dinner.
1 cup green lentils
1 cup French lentils
1 cup red lentils
2 inch strip kombu
3 bay leaves
2 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil
1 tablespoon black mustard seeds
1 medium onion, minced
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced
3 large cloves of garlic, minced
4 teaspoons curry powder
1 large carrot cut in ½ moons
1 large stalk celery, sliced
2 ½ cups winter squash, cut in1/2 inch pieces
2 ½ cups diced cabbage, I used Savoy
4 cups water
5 large rainbow chard leaves
Chopped parsley, cilantro or scallions to serve
Place green and French lentils in a medium to large pot, cover with plenty of water to wash and then drain well. Add 8 cups of filtered water, kombu and bay leaves, place over high and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer for half an hour or until lentils are soft. In a separate bowl wash red lentils, drain and add to the pot. Raise heat until lentils return to a boil, lower heat, cover and simmer for another 20 minutes. Remove pot from heat and set aside.
Warm coconut oil in another large pot, over medium high heat; add the mustard seeds and sauté until they begin to pop. Stir in onion and a pinch of salt and cook for about 4 minutes, add garlic and ginger and cook for another couple of minutes. Stir in curry powder until onions are coated and mix begins to stick to pan. If mixture is sticking to the bottom of pot, add a splash of water and continue cooking.
Add carrots, celery, squash, cabbage and another pinch of salt, stir well and then pour in 4 cups of filtered water and a large pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, cover, lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until vegetables are soft but not falling apart.
Add lentils, raise heat to bring to a simmer, lower again and continue cooking for at least 10 minutes to allow flavors to marry. Cut tough ends off chard, slice down the middle of each leaf and then thinly slice leaves across, creating thin ribbons. Add to pot and cook for a couple of minutes longer. Season with salt to taste.
Serves 6 to 8 people