Cold temperatures inspire experiments with soup recipe
Monday, February 03, 2014 3:01 AM
During my recent vacation, I spent a bit of time in my kitchen. I not only organized a few cupboards and drawers, but tried out a few new recipes, including one for a savory stew. I saw the recipe demonstrated one morning on the Today Show and was intrigued by its ingredients. Once picky Matt Lauer tried a spoonfull and deemed it "Delicious!," I was convinced to give it a try.
Savory Lentil, Quinoa and Vegetable Stew
By Ellie Krieger, Food Network star
5 cups low-sodium vegetable broth (I used chicken stock)
1 large onion
1 large carrot (I used three)
2 tablespoons olive oil
One 2-inch piece fresh ginger
4 cloves garlic
1⁄2 small bunch kale (2 cups packed leaves)
1 1⁄2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1⁄2 teaspoons ground coriander
3⁄4 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, plus more to taste
1 cup red lentils
1 cup quinoa, preferably red
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup peas, fresh or frozen (I used 2 cups frozen)
1⁄2 cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt (I used sour cream)
2 tablespoons packed fresh cilantro leaves
Bring the broth to a boil in a medium saucepan, then keep warm over low heat until ready to use.
While the broth is heating, chop the onion and dice the carrot. Heat the oil in a large saucepan or soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, mince the ginger and garlic. Stem the kale. Discard the stems and coarsely chop the leaves.
Add the ginger, garlic, cumin, coriander, salt and cayenne to the onion-carrot mixture and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the lentils, quinoa and all but 1 cup of the boiling broth. Stir in the kale leaves and cinnamon stick.
Cover, decrease the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the quinoa and lentils are nearly tender, about 10 minutes. Add the peas and cook until the peas, quinoa and lentils are tender, 2 to 3 minutes more. Stir in the remaining broth as needed if the mixture seems too thick.
Serve garnished with a dollop of yogurt and a sprinkle of cilantro leaves.
Reprinted with permission from the publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, from Weeknight Wonders by Ellie Krieger. Copyright 2013. All rights reserved.
Ellie Krieger, a host of a Food Network show, was the demonstrator. It's a thick lentil, quinoa and vegetable stew with an Indian flavor with warm spices and fresh garlic and ginger. My mouth started watering just by the thought of those flavors coming together in a soup.
Over the next few days, I gathered up all the ingredients the recipe called for. I have to admit I had to find the red lentils, red quinoa and kale at a larger grocery store, out of town. I haven't tried subsituting regular lentils and quinoa for the red varieties, but may do so as our local grocery store does carry those.
As I perused the shelves of the larger grocery, I was a bit awed at the variety of quinoa available. There were boxes of regular, pre-washed, black, red and tri-colored. I picked the red because that's what the recipe called for, but I may try the tri-colored next time or, as I said before, the regular variety.
My mother always advises that when finding a new recipe to try, one should follow the directions as written the first time. Then, if one exercises the cook's perogative and changes an ingredient, at least there is something to compare the changed recipe to in order to determine if it was a good addition or a bad one.
So, I did my best on my first try and only made one substitution, chicken stock instead of vegetable broth. I already had the chicken stock in my pantry, so figured it was an acceptable swap. I also added more carrot than the original recipe called for and added a couple of stalks of chopped celery, but how can more vegetables be a bad thing?
Oh, and I did use sour cream for a garnish instead of Greek yogurt. I had the sour cream on hand and the only Greek yogurt in the refrigerator was raspberry-flavored!
Once all the vegetables are chopped, the soup comes together quite quickly, so even though I had saved this recipe to make during my time off work, I have since made it on a week night for supper.
The second time I made the soup, my leftover kale had wilted and looked too sad to add into my soup. I contemplated substituting spinach, but I thought that might be too tender for the rest of the soup. In the end, I just left out the greens, but I did miss them, so I'll make sure I have kale on hand next time I make this soup.
I also increased the amount of lentils and decreased the quinoa, as that's the more expensive ingredient. However, I won't make that change again either as it did change the texture of the stew.
The serving size for this soup is two cups and it is very satisfying. The heat from the spices warms you up from the inside out. It's a lovely soup to help ward off the chill and it smells heavenly when simmering on top of the stove.
I don't consider myself to be a great cook, but I love to cook and I love to experiment with new recipes, especially when it's something that can warm me up during the winter.