I love soups. I love to make them and eat them. In fact I have gained quite a reputation for the variety of soups I make; hot or cold you can always eat soup. No matter what time of year it is there’s always a great soup to make. Starting in the Fall I think of hearty soups that include meat and lots of vegetables. Of course some soups are purely vegetable based, made smooth and creamy by pureeing.
The soup I made a few days ago is one I’ve made several times before and both Mr. D. and I like it very much. It’s sort of a cross between a soup and chili. A beef and vegetable soup made doubly nutritious by the addition of lentils, and Southwestern seasonings to give it some zip. You might want to try this instead of chili for your next football party. Add a pan of spicy corn bread to go with it and you’ve got a terrific meal. (My recipe for corn bread will be featured in tomorrow’s post). This could easily be a vegetarian or vegan soup by omitting the beef, and perhaps adding some mushrooms for that meaty umami flavor.
SOUTHWESTERN LENTIL SOUP
YIELD: 6 – 8 servings
- 1 cup lentils
- 1 pound ground beef
- 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 cup carrots, peeled and cut into coins
- 1 ( 14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
- 1 ( 4 ounce ) can diced greens chiles
- 1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
- 6 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoon southwestern seasoning ( This can be a combination of chili, cumin, coriander, garlic, etc.) I use Penzey’s Arizona Dreaming.
1. Rinse lentils, drain and set aside.
2. Brown the ground beef in a hot skillet or soup pot. Drain away the fat and set the meat aside.
3. Heat the oil in the same pan. Add the onion and carrots, sauté until slightly softened. (My method of choice is to first brown the meat and then saute the vegetables in a skillet, and when each is done I add it to a large soup kettle. Then I proceed to step #4.)
4. Add the lentils, beef, tomatoes, green chiles, tomato sauce, water, salt, pepper, and other seasonings to the soup kettle.
5. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover. Simmer for about an hour until lentils are tender. Stir occasionally to prevent lentils from sticking.
You can really amp up the spiciness factor to whatever level you like by adding some cayenne pepper or chipotle pepper to the soup, or serve with some hot sauce on the table for those who like it a little hotter.
SOURCE: Penzey’s Spices