AKA Fall in a bowl. Okay, maybe I should have said autumn there. Unless you really want to fall in. That might be a little weird, though.
I started reading An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler the other day. Shanna at Food Loves Writing wrote about it a few weeks ago, so I had it in the back of my mind when we were at Powell’s on a random evening. You can totally kill hours and hours and hours in Powell’s, and not even realize it. It’s a perfectly good way to spend an evening. Trust me. I parked myself in the Orange Room, where the cooking/food section is, and starting reading pieces of book after book. They don’t leave too many places to actually sit down with a book, save for the random step stool or the floor, which is probably a good thing. I spend enough time there as it is. I got a couple chapters into Adler’s book and took it home with me.
It’s a really beautiful book so far. The way she describes the most basic needs behind cooking are simple and exquisite. It reduces cooking down to what it truly is—nourishment. It shouldn’t be complicated or frustrating, only simple, efficient, and delicious. At least, that’s what I’ve got so far. I’m sure you’ll hear all about it when I’m done. Has anyone else read it?
In the beginning, Adler talks a lot about the beauty in a pot of boiling water. So naturally I had to make one. And throw a bunch of fall’s bounty in it. To the people that hate sweet potatoes [Dad and Andrew, I'm talking to you], you’ll hate this soup. I made it on a night when I knew Andrew would be out, saving the leftovers for my next couple of lunches. It’s very sweet potato-y, but has a little bit of heat to contrast it. Instead of some yogurt or creme fresch, I went with cubes of mild feta. It was a pretty contrast. Well, a pretty contrast that led to my boss asking me a) what did I have in my lunch, and b) was it molding? I laughed. A lot.
I pureed it up so it was thick and creamy. I wasn’t feeling anything remotely brothy. You can always thin it down if you so choose. As with most soups, the leftovers trumped the first night. Soup absolutely benefits from partying for more than one night together.
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter or olive oil
- 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 3 carrots, sliced
- 1 apple [I used a honeycrisp], peeled and diced
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup red lentils
- 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper [more or less to taste]
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- salt and pepper to taste
- feta cheese, cubes or crumbles for garnish
In a large Dutch oven or soup pot, melt the butter on medium high heat. Toss in the sweet potatoes, carrots, apple, and onion. Stir to coat in the butter, allowing the vegetables to soften and get really fragrant. After about 10 minutes, the onion should start to be translucent.
Add the lentils, ginger, cayenne, cumin, and paprika. Stir to coat all of the vegetables before adding in the vegetable broth. Add a health dash of salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, before reducing to a simmer and covering with a lid. Cook the vegetables and lentils for a good 25-30 minutes at minimum. Taste often. Season accordingly.
When you’re ready to puree, bring the soup off the heat. Blend it in batches in your blender or food processor. I don’t have one of those fancy immersion stick blenders, but you can use that if you want, too. The Vitamix made quick work of it, and everything was so velvety smooth.
Return the soup back to the pot, and serve in your soup bowl of choice. Top with feta cheese and some fresh cracked pepper. Prepare to be full. On soup.