The beginning of January is the “re” time. Resolve, re-invent, re-invigorate, renew, reactivate, rebound, reorganize, replace, repose, restore and revel. All action verbs used in a most positive way to embrace the infinite potential of things to come in the New Year.
After continuous and cherished days of visiting and visitors, on January 1, I happily returned to my favorite room in our home, The Kitchen, to relax in a day of culinary therapy. I requested of Rob to load the CD player with “cooking up a storm” music and he did not disappoint. Carole King and James Taylor’s Live at the Troubadour (Ms. King cooks in her rendition of “I Feel the Earth Move”), The Temptations’ Greatest Hits, Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA, Elton John’s Greatest Hits, and Rod Stewart’s Greatest Hits. Records to sing along with (Maggie May) and dance with Rob (Something in the Way She Moves), remembering concerts (a seat behind the stage at the Boss’ concert actually provided an excellent view) and where I happened to be the first time I heard Philadelphia Freedom (1975, Stoneybrook Steeplechase).
Re-stocking the freezer with soup made from scratch was the inspiration for cooking up a storm. I love soups, every season, though in the winter I find them especially comforting, convenient and practical. This nutritious and wholesome recipe, representing the essence of soups’ simplicity, was inspired by a visit to the farmers’ market where I purchased curly kale and sweet potatoes from Joann Gallagher of Castlemaine Farms.
“Super Soup with Lentils, Kale and Tomatoes” is a flavorful vegetarian soup packed with nutrients and antioxidants. Lentils, next to soybeans, have the highest protein content of all vegetables. They are also a good source of calcium, vitamins A and B, iron and phosphorus. Kale provides ample amounts of vitamins A and C, folic acid, calcium and iron. Tomatoes, also known as love apples, add an extra boost of lycopene, vitamins A, B, C, potassium, fiber and iron. Like most soups, Super Soup, improves with time. I suggest that you refrigerate it the day it is made and enjoy it the day after. Freeze a quart or two to share with a neighbor or to pull out on a Sunday evening to have with a grilled cheese sandwich.
Super Soup with Lentils, Kale and Tomatoes
Ingredients for soup:
2 cups lentils, picked over and rinsed
1 T olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped, with ½ cup of leafy greens
1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
7 – 8 cups of water
3 cups of kale, rinsed well, deveined, finely chopped
S&P to taste
Bring 6 cups of cold water and lentils to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
In the meantime, heat oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add onions, celery, carrots and carrot top greens. Sauté until tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, lentils and 4 cups of water. Continue cooking, adding remaining 3 cups of water to achieve desired consistency. Adjust seasonings, adding Worcestershire. Bring back up to a simmer, stir in kale. Cook until kale is wilted. Taste and adjust seasonings. I like heat so I spice it up with Tabasco and/or red chili pepper flakes, which are sources of Capsicums, rich in A, C and carotenoids.
Serves 8 to 10
Enjoy this renewed lentil soup recipe.
Top with a spoonful of yogurt, sublimely reinforced with baked and pan-sautéed sweet potato coins.
A poached egg on top of the soup would be nice and add extra protein.
Suggested wine pairings: Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel or Chianti
Suggested play list: See above