Sunday, January 12, 2014


While packing to go away on a trip, I try to also spend the time to empty out my fridge so that I don't return to a science experiment gone terribly wrong. The only problem with this plan is that when I do finally come home, especially if it's later in the evening, the only thing I have left to eat are ice cubes. Yeah, yeah... I could order in, but then I'll just order too much, spend too much, and eat too much.

When I returned from my latest trip just after New Years and rummaged through my freezer to gnaw on some ice cubes, I found a container of lentil soup that I had frozen during Christmas week. I had totally forgotten about it. For me, stocking up for future trips or just the winter to come is key, especially since my apartment has been hovering around 55 degrees so far this winter, incidentally the minimum required by NYC law. Coincidence? Doubt it. Someone's trying to save some dollar bills and it ain't me.

Anyhoo, I decided to make a variation of a lentil soup which I first wrote about here. It's supes quick to make, freezes really well, and is also delicious served over basmati rice. (Check out the recipe below.) I also made a batch of vegetable soup, which I guess you could call minestrone, and even threw in a leftover Parmesan cheese rind. Instead of throwing them away, you can freeze rinds and then add to soups to flavor them. The addition of pasta is optional depending on how you're feeling about carbs after the holidays. One option is to make the soup without the pasta and then add it in when you are reheating the soup, if you have the calories to spare. I don't, but added some anyway. It's still better than ordering (and eating) pad thai.

Minestrone (aka vegetable) Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
1 large celery stalk, diced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 medium bunch kale, chopped
1 (15-ounce) can small white beans, rinsed and drained
6 cups broth (vegetable or chicken)
1 (2-inch) piece of parmesan rind
3/4 cup small dried pasta (optional)
Freshly grated Parmesan, for serving

1. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrot, celery, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables begin to soften, 5 - 8 minutes.

2. Add the tomatoes, kale, beans, broth and Parmesan rind. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Add the pasta, if using and cook for ten minutes more, or until the pasta is al dente. Discard the cheese rind and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with Parmesan if desired. Serves 6 - 8.

Curried Lentil Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons (or more) curry powder
1 cup green lentils
4 cups water
Cilantro and lemon wedges, for serving

1. Heat the olive oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and carrot and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until the onion is translucent, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir until the vegetables are soft but not brown, about 4 minutes longer. Add the curry powder and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. 

2. Add the lentils and 4 cups of water. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Increase the heat to bring to boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. Pulse briefly with an immersion blender to desired consistency. Top with cilantro and serve with lemon wedges. Serves 6.

1 comment:

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