Friday, October 5, 2012

Mushroom Lentil Soup

I'm sure you know by now that I'm totally obsessed with soup.  Especially when the temperatures start dropping.

If you weren't aware of that fact before now...go read this week's Meal Plan Monday post.  There's a recipe or two for soup on there.  Or 7.  And that was me expressing a great deal of self control.  But, really.  Who doesn't love soup at this time of the year?

The answer should be no one.

So, this soup.  I told you on Monday that I received the recipe from the family I babysit for, right?  Right.  She always has recipes for the most simple but unbelievably delicious dishes.  So when I made this last week at their house, I knew the recipe had to be mine.

I must make a quick digression.  Last night I finally watched Jiro Dreams of Sushi.  Have you?  If not...I need you to go do so.  Now.  Listen, I had high expectations for this film to begin blew those expectations out of the water.  It was the first time in a very long time that I actually sat down and watched an entire movie.  Typically I'm a complete busy body and can't force myself to do it.  But I sat down in front of my computer with plans to work on a Marketing project while watching...and no.  Oh no.  No Marketing work happened.  I was completely engrossed.

So go watch it.  Okay?

I brought that up because there was a quote about simplicity that caught my attention.  When talking about Jiro's philosophy for food and life, a food critic explained that "Ultimate simplicity leads to purity".  And I love that.  All too often I find myself cooking up a storm in the kitchen with a million ingredients...instead of trying to boil recipes down and make them as simple as possible without losing flavor.  Making something with 20 ingredients isn't the challenge.  Taking something with 20 ingredients and boiling it down to 5 is.

Which brings me to this recipe.  Finally.  I didn't condense this recipe (I contradictorily added ingredients...) but it's so simple to begin with.  And the flavors that come out in the end have so much depth that you would never guess there are only a few simple ingredients.

Ramble over. 

If you skipped that whole thing here's a conclusion:
  1. Go watch Jiro Dreams of Sushi.
  2. Simplicity produces phenomenal results in the kitchen.
  3. Make this soup.
mushroom lentil soup...

Makes: 6-8 servings   Prep Time: 5 minutes   Cook Time: 40 minutes   Total Time: 45 minutes

{Printable Recipe}

1 large onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 portobello mushroom caps, finely chopped
6 cups vegetable broth
1 1/3 cups red lentils
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon salt (more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon pepper (more to taste)
optional: African Smoke Seasoning (I'm telling you...I'm addicted to this stuff)

  1. In a large pot heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic and saute until translucent, about 8 minutes.  Add mushroom caps and saute for another 5-10  minutes or until the mushrooms start breaking down.  Add the broth, lentils, tomato paste, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and let simmer for 15-20 minutes or until lentils are soft.  Taste and season accordingly.  I obviously add the African Smoke Seasoning at this delicious.
  2. Top with cheese or fresh herbs and serve with a side of crusty bread.


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