Sweet Potato, Carrot, Apple, and Red Lentil Soup with Toasty Cheesy Bread
It's the middle of November. Even though I live in a place where it doesn't snow, I am more aware than ever that we are losing light. Probably because I'm up further north than I'm used to being, and it is already as dark here as it ever got in Utah.
Yup. It is the darkest, rainiest (or snowiest, depending on where you are) time of year. Halloween is past. It's not yet Christmas. And don't get me wrong, I love Thanksgiving. But the prospect of Thanksgiving without the extended family this year has me a lttle down.
The leaves are almost gone, leaving black, soaked branches against grey skies.
Things are a bit dreary right now.
What do you do at a time like this?
You can listen to tapes about how to speak Italian while eating pears in the mornings. That is somewhat effective.
You can think about Christmas, but you risk getting derailed wishing you could afford more Christmas lights.
But I think you know where I'm really going with this. Desperate times, you know...call for food. Really good food.
And there's no better time for it than late fall. This vegetable and lentil soup was thick, hot, and sweet. It was hearty, full of starchy root vegetables and apples. It's healthy too (unlike lots of comfort food).
The cheesy bread (possibly slightly less healthy) was from a fresh sourdough round I got from the bakery across the street (I love them so...they said they might be hiring for the holidays and to check back later). I just spread it with a thin layer of butter and then topped it with a slice of cheddar and a round of goat cheese.
Then broiled it for toasty, cheesy, soup-dunky goodness.
Even my husband (poor, picky, bachelor-chow-loving husband!) ate it, and he was extremely wary of all the strange, colorful, jewel-like vegetables. He ate it and got seconds. He was very happy.
And you know what? I feel better now, too.
Sweet Potato, Carrot, Apple, and Red Lentil Soup (adapted from Allrecipes.com)
1/4 cup butter
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup red lentils
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
4 cups vegetable broth
1. Melt the butter in a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Place the chopped sweet potatoes, carrots, apple, and onion in the pot. Stir and cook the apples and vegetables until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes.
2.Stir the lentils, ginger, ground black pepper, salt, cumin, chili powder, paprika, and vegetable broth into the pot with the apple and vegetable mixture. Bring the soup to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the lentils and vegetables are soft, about 30 minutes.
3.Working in batches, pour the soup into a blender, filling the pitcher no more than halfway full. Hold down the lid of the blender with a folded kitchen towel, and carefully start the blender, using a few quick pulses to get the soup moving before leaving it on to puree. Puree in batches until smooth and pour into a clean pot. Alternately, you can use a stick blender and puree the soup right in the cooking pot.
4.Return the pureed soup to the cooking pot. Bring back to a simmer over medium-high heat, about 10 minutes. Add water as needed to thin the soup to your preferred consistency. Serve with yogurt for garnish.
Direction for cheesy bread given above.