If you are looking to warm yourself and feel good at the same time, this soup is for you. No better food in January that a bowl full of goodness to set things right!
This is the kind of food I need to be eating right now. After a very indulgent December, vegetables and legumes are the way forward. Well, at least for today...ha! I do try, with all good intentions, to eat less sugar, carbs and all the other stuff and really makes me feel like crap. Oh and the alcohol. Let's not forget that in December. There just may have been too many empty bottles of wine come December 31st.
In all seriousness, I do believe in moderation. If you follow along on the blog, you will see all kinds of food including pasta rich dishes, indulgent sweets and a bit of fried food here and there. But when is moderation too much? Ummmm, that is something I really need to think about.
So, this January I am trying my best to eat as "clean" as I can. Okay, I gotta' say and I am not going to lie, I hate the phrase "clean eating". Like it bothers me. It makes me feel like all my food is somehow dirty and needs to be put through the rinse cycle a few hundred times. I do buy fresh ingredients for the most part and cook usually everything from my kind of whole food. But then I find out that it doesn't meet the criteria for whole or clean.
With that being said, January will be my kind of "clean" eating. It has to be because when you have to try and stuff yourself into a pair of jeans, you know somehow moderation got out of hand.
Let's see where we are so far this month.
It got off to a rocky start with celebrations continuing right through to the 6th of January. So the first week was a complete write off. Completely. We had a birthday to celebrate and it would be just rude to not do it in style. Am I not wrong?
When I finally thought I was in the clear, a friend brought over a Rosca de reyes. That is a traditional pastry eaten here in Spain on the 6h of January, or the Epiphany. You can look it up here if you feel so inclined. To my dismay, I have never made one and every year I say I am going to attempt it. Then epic fail once again this year. There is always next year.
Clearly there was no clean eating the first week of January. Flash forward to the second week and I did a bit better. Zero alcohol, just a little sugar and less bread than a normal week. So for me that's pretty clean and I would call it a great success. Hope is on the horizon of not having to stuff myself like a sausage into my jeans.
All of this finally brings me to this soup. Well, quite honestly this was another clean out the fridge meal. I had zero expectations and never imagined it would transpire into a blog post. The soup surprised me with the depth of flavour and all around deliciousness. I was planning it to last two days, but somehow we managed to gobble it all up in one day. Not one sitting though, that might be a tad tough.
What made the soup so good? First and foremost, I was hungry. Food always tastes better when you are starving. And I was pretty hungry. Put that aside though, I think it was the sheer combination of all the ingredients. Duhhh, isn't that what makes most stuff good? Well, somehow this combination just worked. I literally used every single vegetable I found in the house. At least the ones that still had life left in them. It all worked and I will be making it again soon.
Let's take a little look at the soup.
I used good ol' hearty vegetables for this soup and it really worked. To bring out the flavour in the soup, I fried the bay leaves with some of the vegetables before adding any stock. This always helps bring out flavour in any dish. I also used a whole lot of fresh thyme and that is a great addition to any vegetable dish. If you don't make your own stock, make sure you use good quality stock. After all, it is a huge part of the soup.
When you look into the recipe below you will see that I added a little sherry vinegar. That was a complete afterthought, but brought the soup up to a new level of goodness. I was given this beautiful little bottle of sherry vinegar for Christmas and happened to spy it out of the corner of my eye when making the soup. It really gave the soup that something extra. You don't need a special sherry vinegar, any kind will do. If you don't have any, just use white wine vinegar. But I don't recommend skipping the vinegar all together. Unless, of course, you don't like vinegar.
This soup is best made in advance and then eaten a few hours later. I ate it just after it was cooked and then again later that same day. The second bowl was far better. So, I recommend making it early on and then eating it a bit later once the flavours got a bit more depth to them. Don't get me wrong, it was still good fresh out of the pot, just better later on.
Enjoy and happy cooking. See you all again real soon!
Hearty Vegetable and Lentil Soup
Serves 6 / Prep time: 15 minutes / Cook time: 45 minutes
3 Carrots, peeled and finely diced
3 Celery ribs, finely diced
1 Leek, finely chopped
2 Potatoes, peeled and cut into one inch pieces
1 Cup/100 grams shredded cabbage
1 Cup/125 grams Green beans, ends trimmed and cut into three sections lengthways
1/2 Cup/100 grams green lentils
1 1/2 litres vegetable stock
1/4 Cup/60 ml sherry vinegar
1 Cup/240 ml white wine
1 Teaspoon dried sage
Small bunch fresh thyme
Small bunch fresh parsley
3 Bay leaves
2 Tablespoon olive oil
4 Garlic cloves, crushed
Fresh black pepper
In a large stainless steel pot set over medium to high heat add the olive oil and garlic. Stir for just a minute. Add the carrots, celery, leeks and bay leaves. Stir really well and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the potatoes and give a good stir.
Add all the cooking wine at once with the fresh thyme and dried sage. Bring to a simmer and leave until the wine evaporates, about 2-3 minutes.
Add the stock, cabbage, green beans and lentils. Stir well and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and cover. Leave to cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove thyme sprigs. Add sherry vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Leave for a further 2 minutes or so to simmer.
Serve topped with fresh parsley.
Click the downloadable link below to print recipe!
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