This morning, I woke up to two scenes; the first was on my phone, a picture of a sunset on Hillarys Beach, sent from my sister, who’s currently visiting family half-way around the world from us in Perth, Australia. The second one, outside my window, of clouds and rain. My first response was to feel a little disheartened about the rainy day.
We have been completely spoiled in the Northeast with our Fall this year, I don’t even feel justified to complain about the cold and rainy Tuesday we are having. I remember it snowing the day before Thanksgiving last year, and this year we were hiking and playing tennis the day of. It feels obvious to say, but it’s amazing what a difference the weather can make. My parents grew up in South Africa, and my dad always says he never remembers the weather being a topic of conversation. In the winter months here, the temperature and road conditions dictate our lives, whether we like it or not.
With the week starting out wet and dreary, I knew exactly what I wanted to make. Since making my White Bean Soup for the first time, it’s been repeated regularly throughout this season. It was about time I added another soup to the rotation. I love making a batch of lentils at the beginning of each week to add to salads. This week though, I decided to include them in a soup. I added all my favorite vegetables, and didn’t even bother with vegetable stock, I simply used water. I tend to be a bit shy about using too many spices, but the cumin contributes an incredible flavor and warmth to the soup, as well as a delicious aroma to my kitchen. The combination of lentils and butternut creates the creamiest consistency. I had initially planned on pureeing the soup after cooking, but was reminded that lentils disintegrate in soup, creating the velvety base, and a great backdrop for the different textures of the variety of chopped vegetables.
My favorite way to enjoy soup is in a mug; It fits comfortably in my hand, and I believe makes the soup taste even better. Cuddled up in my pajamas with my warm mug of soup, I longingly think about my sister in the warm Australian sun, and also feel grateful for where I am at the present moment, enjoying my new favorite soup on our cold, dark, rainy night.
- 1½ cups Red Lentils (uncooked)
- 1 tablespoon refined Coconut Oil
- 1 large Yellow Onion
- 1 large Carrot
- 6-8 cups Water (or Stock)
- Sprig of fresh Thyme
- ¼ teaspoon Cumin
- 1½ teaspoon course Sea Salt
- ½ large Butternut (about 3 cups), chopped
- 1 Zucchini
- ½ head of Swiss Chard, stems removed and leaves chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 1 teaspoon Red Wine Vinegar
- Place the lentils in a medium sized bowl and cover with a few inches of water. Cover with a plate or a kitchen towel and leave to soak overnight.
- Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and carrots, and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Drain and rinse the lentils and add to the pot with water (or stock) and spices. Bring to a boil.
- Lower heat to a simmer and cover. Cook for 20 minutes.
- Add butternut and zucchini, cover, and cook for an additional 30 minutes.
- Add swiss chard and red wine vinegar and cook for 5 more minutes.