So I’m talking to Big Sis on the phone (yes, that could have been just about any day and we like it that way – so glad these babies are cordless) and inevitably the “Whatcha havin’ for dinner?” part of the conversation arose. I told her I was making bread and chopping veg for soup, a Deborah Madison soup incidentally. And in another mystery of nature vs. nurture, it turned out Big Sis was also in the process of making soup from her beloved Deborah Madison cookbook. “Sounds like it’s time for a soup post.” I’m not sure which one of us said it, but I’m pretty sure it hardly matters. And so you are the unwitting beneficiaries of our non-coincidentally parallel lives. There’s a sign post up ahead… Insert Twilight Zone music here 😉 (Bigg Sis here – no italics) Oh and Little Sis gave me the big fat Deborah Madison book as an impromptu gift. Made me feel as warm as soup!
My most recent Deborah Madison experiment was a blatant attempt to capitalize on my picky daughter’s relative willingness to eat lentil dishes. I wanted soup; she likes lentils; the answer was self-evident. I whipped up some bread to insure my dinnertime victory (carbs are the answer to my daughter’s every question) and checked out the pantry to see what kind of lentil soup would make the most sense. After a fruitful pantry dive, I consulted my favorite chef and settled on Lentil Minestrone. Heck, I knew it would make ME happy.
Lentil Minestrone – Adapted from Deborah Madison in Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
- olive oil for the pan
- 1.5 c chopped onion
- 2 T tomato paste (I freeze mine in a big blob on wax paper after I open a can and cut off what I need from the frozen blob)
- 2 T chopped parsley
- 4 cloves garlic
- 3 carrots cut small
- 1 c celery cut small
- 2 t salt
- 1 c lentils (I used green)
- 2 bay leaves, several branches parsley and a few thyme sprigs, (or dried herbs to taste)
- 9 c water or vegetable stock (I went halfsies)
- Bragg’s or soy sauce to taste
- 1 bunch greens, chopped (I used chard from the garden)
- 2 cups cooked pasta (we used leftover homemade green pasta)
Warm olive oil in a large pot. Saute onion for about 10 minutes until soft and starting to brown. Add tomato paste through the celery and the salt. Cook for a few more minutes. Add the lentils, the herbs, and water/broth. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for about a half an hour. Taste and add salt and or pepper. If the soup tastes flat, add soy for richness. Cook the pasta in a separate pot and drain. When the soup is ready, spoon pasta and raw greens into bowl and ladle soup on top. Add parm if that works for you. We just dipped sunflower cheese bread instead. Delish.
That sounds really good. I think we’ll be swapping soups here over the next couple of days.
My Deborah Madison recipe took advantage of the fact that my son will eat chickpeas – and many other things he objects to – if in soup. For your slurping from a big spoon pleasure – I give you:
Potato and Chickpea Stew. from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, p. 252
1 pound Yellow Finn, fingerling, or red potatoes (I used Yukon Gold)
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely diced (I diced, but not so finely as is my sloppy way)
2 generous pinches of saffron
2 Large red bell peppers, finely diced… (again – I’m a chunky dicer, not a fine dicer)
1 large yellow bell pepper, cut into strips (now you’re talking!)
2 large garlic cloves, minced (I’m a masher, not a mincer)
1 heaping teaspoon sweet paprika (I used regular paprika – is there a difference?)
1/4 cup chopped parsley, plus extra for garnish
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup medium dry sherry
2 cups canned crushed tomatoes, plus their juices (I used diced)
2 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas, or 2 15 oz. cans rinsed
3 cups chickpea-cooking broth or water – I used vegetable broth here – bean cooking water is pretty gas-forming
salt and freshly milled pepper
Picada on top:
1/2 cup peeled (can you guess? I didn’t peel), toasted almonds (350 degrees for 8-10 minutes)
2 slices white country bread (I used the whole grain I had) fried up to crisp in 2 Tbsp olive oil – both sides
2 – 4 cloves garlic.
Deborah Madison tosses these 3 ingredients in a food processor. I added the garlic (mashed) to the saute pan with the bread, chopped the almonds in a chopper, broke the bread into bits and was done. My food processor was dirty and I prefer sauteed garlic.
Luckily I gave birth to a little free help in the kitchen 11 years ago. Ain’t he somethin’?
Warm oil in a large pot and add onion, saffron, peppers, garlic and potatoes, over medium-low, stirring occasionally until potatoes are softening but firm – about 25 minutes.
Beautiful fragrant saffron
Add paprika, parsley and pepper flakes and cook 3-4 minutes
Add the sherry and cook until juices are thick and syrup-y, about 12 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, chickpeas, and broth to cover. And 1 1/2 tsp salt and plenty of pepper. Cover and cook over low heat until potatoes are very tender. She uses the picada as a thickener, I used it as a crunchy topper.
She also adds a Romesco sauce. I did not do this and thought it was fabulous and it was not hard – but not easy either, so I was done and sampling said it was done as well. Everyone liked this a lot.
So there you have it! Little Sis and I are in the soup, all souped up, and will be boiling something tasty up tonight as well! I hope there’s some soup in your future, it sure is fine!
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