Finally, fall is here, which like I said in my last post, this means soup. Lots of delicious, hearty soups. Yum.
My favorite fall soup to make is one that I discovered on Allrecipes.com, listed as “Sweet potato, carrot, apple, and red lentil soup.” Quite the mouthful. Well, last year I was in need of a lentil soup recipe and thought this looked good. I was right. It soon became our favorite. So delicious. But when I first made this soup, as well as when I made it tonight, I was without red lentils. I even went to the store today specifically for red lentils, and they were all out! The truth is, any color lentil will do for this recipe. I don’t think there’s a difference in taste. But I wanted the red lentils. Why? Because they make a prettier soup. A little more festive than the putrid color that regular lentils turn out. I didn’t want ugly soup on my blog.
But alas, the store did not have pretty lentils. I had to go with boring old brown lentils. Or whatever you call the regular kind. Of course I wanted a pretty picture for my blog, but you know what? That’s not always going to happen. I am not creating recipes in some pristine laboratory with the finest foods available. I’m making real food, in my real kitchen. Making a big mess while I’m at it. And sometimes the store is going to be out of the thing you want, so you have to compromise. Sometimes your culinary creations will not turn out picture-perfect. But that’s OK. I am here to tell you, that even though this soup may be ugly, it is mouth-wateringly good. So, without further ado, I present to you, what I have now dubbed, “ugly lentil soup.” (Which, really, when you think about it, most lentil soups are probably not all that attractive…)
1/4 c butter (Use olive oil if you want to be a bit healthier! I usually do)
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped
1 onion, chopped
1/2 c red (or any old color) lentils (You can use even more if you want a thicker soup)
1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp paprika
4 c vegetable broth
Feta cheese for garnish
We got carrots and cippolini onions in our CSA box this week, so I used those. Clearly, the carrots and onions are pretty small, so I had to use more of them. I used that whole bunch of carrots, and about 6 of the wee baby onions. What’s worse than chopping an onion? … Chopping 6 of them. Ugh. I need a pair of those onion goggles. Yep. So cool.
Chop up all your veggies, and try not to cry too much. If you’re lucky enough to own onion goggles, strap ’em on.
I had so much veggie-waste after peeling and chopping, there was no way it was going to fit in our compost bins (read: old yogurt containers), so I had to break out the big guns. AKA a big bowl. Looking at this makes me wish we had pigs so I could feed it to them. Ahhh I can’t wait to have a yard someday… Get some chickens, maybe a pig. Sigh.
Once you’re done chopping, throw your butter in a large pot over medium-high heat (Of course, if you want to make this vegan, leave the butter out and use olive oil instead). I like to use my 5 quart cast iron dutch oven.
Once your butter is melted, toss in your chopped carrots, onion, apple, and sweet potatoes. Stir and cook until onions are translucent, about 10 minutes.
While you’re waiting for your onions to cook, measure out your spices and the ginger.
Once your onions are done, toss the spices along with the lentils into the pot…
…Followed by your vegetable broth.
Bring your soup to a boil over high heat, then reduce to medium-low, cover, and let simmer until the lentils and vegetables are soft, about 30 minutes.
Once your veggies are soft, you’ve got a few choices. You can leave it as is, or you can puree it. If you want to deal with puree-ing one batch at a time in a blender or food processor, God bless you. I don’t have the patience. Last year I invested in a Cuisinart SmartStick, and I. love. it. Seriously, it changed my life.
However, I don’t use that for this. I like this soup somewhere between chunky and pureed. So I just sort of mash up the sweet potatoes and apples in the pot. I use a fork, because for some reason I don’t own a potato masher. But it’s up to you. Do as you please!
Serve with feta, if you’re going the non-vegan route. De-lish! Enjoy! (And remember, the soup is tastier than it appears.)