Monday, November 25, 2013

Curing the November Blues, Again: Lentil Soup with Speck & Kale

Another rerun. But until my Warrior gets out of the hospital. Reruns it is. Delicious nonetheless. 

Lentil Soup with Speck & Kale is a great lunch for a
gloomy, cold late Fall day.
I have the November blues. The cold is starting to already get to my Mediterranean  genes. We're halfway through November and I'm already looking for "Signs of Spring". The garden seed catalogs are still at least 6 weeks away, and since I'm planning a fallow year so I can work on the soil, I will be planting very little, and probably in Earth Boxes. The frost on the brown leaves on the ground makes them look like frosted cornflakes, but that just makes me think of the snow to come. It's getting dark way too early in the evening. That is not good. Am trying to think of things that will cheer me up. Maybe putting up the Christmas tree over the weekend will help. Maybe. This lentil soup, with speck and kale, though, and my favorite yellow, happy tablecloth will probably do the trick.

This is the kind of healthy soup that doesn't taste "healthy". Chock full of good stuff like lentils and kale, it'll warm you up without slowing you down. You could make this a vegetarian soup using olive oil in place of the bacon fat or butter, vegetable stock, leaving out the speck and adding about 2 drops of liquid smoke; also remember to use a vegetarian Worcestershire, or the Pickapeppa which has no animal ingredients. This is also gluten free.  A great carry-to-work-lunch, too, that will have your coworkers swooning around the microwave when you heat it up. Don't share unless you've brought extra.

Note: Speck is smoked proscuitto, and if your grocery or good deli doesn't carry it, use smoked bacon instead. It does not taste the same, but will still be delish.


Ingredients:

Lentil Soup with Speck & Kale
Serves 6

2T bacon fat or butter
3 oz. diced speck (can sub minced, smoked bacon)
1 lb. regular brown or green lentils, washed and picked over
1 large onion, diced finely
2 celery stalks, diced finely
1 large carrot, coarsely grated
1/2 cup minced red bell pepper
1 quart of homemade or no  salt added chicken stock
1 quart of water, plus extra if needed
2 bay leaves
1T dried marjoram leaves
1T dried thyme
2 tsp. Worcesteshire sauce or Pickapeppa sauce
Coarse salt and pepper

1 lb. kale, leaves and small stems only, blanched, squeezed out and chopped

2T good quality balsamic vinegar

Instructions:

1. Heat the bacon fat or butter in a deep soup pot, and sauté the speck until brown. 

2. Add everything else through the worcestershire sauce and bring to a simmer. Cook about 45 minutes to an hour until the lentils are tender .

3. Taste for salt and pepper and add as needed, stir in the kale and the balsamic vinegar, and heat through.  Serve piping hot.

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