Sunday, November 01, 2009

Sunday Recipe Blogging

Things are better. I'm almost totally healthy, Mr. Squab's foot is on the mend, and the Hatchling and the Sprout are vastly improved. Plus, my team won today and I invented a really yummy soup. As a cook, I'd say that soups and casseroles are my forte - I'm a one-dish-meal kind of gal - but usually I'm working from some kind of recipe even if I alter most of the steps. This is the first time I've ever actually created a recipe from scratch, so I was quite pleased that it turned out. I loooooove pumpkin dishes, especially in the autumn, and I'm a sucker for a nice, hearty soup. Trust me, this one will definitely fill you up. Another bonus: it would be just as delicious as a vegan soup as it is with meat, so it's nice and versatile. See what you think:

Curried Pumpkin-Lentil Soup

8 cups broth (chicken, veggie, whatev.)
1 c. lentils
1 large onion, diced
1 1/2 c. sweet potato, diced (about 1 medium sweet potato)
1 1/2 c. carrots, sliced
2 15 oz. cans pumpkin
1 lb chicken breast, cubed (optional)
2 T curry powder
1 T powdered ginger
1 t garlic powder
1 T Sriracha or other hot sauce (to taste)
Sour cream for garnish

1. Put broth and lentils into a crock pot on high.

2. Saute onion, carrots, sweet potato, 1 T curry powder and 1/2 T ginger in the olive oil on medium heat until soft. Add to crock pot. Add both cans of pumpkin.

3. Toss chicken breast with remaining spices, garlic powder, and Sriracha. Saute over medium heat in the pan left over from the veggies. Add additional oil if necessary (I didn't need to, but I was using a nonstick pan.) When chicken is fully cooked, set aside.

4. Once lentils are soft, or an hour or so before serving, use an immersion blender to puree the soup until it is fairly uniform in texture. (If you don't have an immersion blender, use a potato masher - the soup will be chunkier, but that's OK. Or, you know, get an immersion blender. Seriously! They are awesome!)

5. Add chicken to pureed soup and reduce heat to low. Cook at least 1 hour or up to, I dunno, all day?

6. Serve hot with a dollop of sour cream and crusty bread on the side. SO. GOOD.

**Vegetarian/Vegan option: Use veggie broth; add all the spices and hot sauce to the onion/carrot/sweet potato mix instead of dividing them between the veggies and the meat, and if you're vegan, skip the sour cream or use a vegan substitute. Easy Peasy.

**Quick option: do it on the stovetop instead of in a crock pot - bring the broth and lentils to a boil, then reduce heat and let them simmer for about 20 minutes while you prepare and cook the veggies. By the time the veggies are done, the lentils will be soft and you can puree at will, and add the chicken as soon as it's cooked.