Lentil, Kale and Sweet Potato Soup

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As I write this I’m enjoying a cozy evening in. I’m lounging on my couch, keeping toasty with the help of an oversized throw and thick, fuzzy socks. Jazz from my John Coltrane Pandora station pipes through the warmly-lit room. And my tummy? Well, it’s still experiencing the afterglow of a hearty soup that tasted as if it had been concocted by Autumn itself.

I owe this blog post to my amazing girlfriend M, who is one of the most fantastic cooks I know. She’s a natural. You know, one of those completely unassuming people who can pull a bunch of fresh ingredients out onto their kitchen counter, toss in a little of this, throw in a little of that, season with a pinch of these, and voilà! You have yourself a masterpiece.

This soup is her recipe and I just made it my own because that’s how her recipes work. When I ask her about ingredients and quantities, she gives me an outline and I am left to fill in the blanks. This is how I know she’s a good cook. She functions on instinct. I was forced to do the same and as you’ll soon see from the ingredient list below, so will you.

But with ingredients like these, you really can’t go wrong. The lentils give the soup a stew-like heartiness and texture. The sweet potato naturally sweetens the entire stock and provides great balance to the saltiness of the celery and leeks. The kale adds a brilliant splash of color and flavor. If you favor a certain ingredient, emphasize it with your measurements. If you like something you don’t see here, by all means, add it in. These quantities make a pot of soup large enough to serve 6-8 people.

  • 1 leek, greens trimmed, sliced lengthwise then crosswise
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • two 32-oz cartons of vegetable stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 1-2 cups brown lentils (depending on how much you like lentils!)
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced into large cubes
  • 1 stalk celery, sliced
  • 1 bunch kale, coarsely chopped
  • 1 serrano pepper, sliced (optional)
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

In a large soup pot, heat your olive oil and sauté the leeks and garlic until they’re golden brown and glistening. Pour in the vegetable stock and water. Add in the lentils, sweet potato and celery and bring just to a boil, then reduce to simmer until the lentils and sweet potato are very tender.

Next, add in the kale and pepper and allow to simmer a bit longer. Season with sea salt and black pepper to taste. If you are serving this soup to some who like spicy and some who do not, simply withhold the pepper slices and just add one slice into each individual bowl of those who like things hot. : )

I served this soup with toasted garlic bread and my Roasted Root Jewels.

Enjoy this delicious taste of Autumn! Your belly will thank you.

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Happy eating!

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