I like soup. A lot. For me, winter time is soup time, even when winter means that it's only 75 degrees outside. Today, I decided that we needed a LOT of soup this week, so I can focus on my to-do list and not worry about what's for dinner. We made 3 different soups for the week and will eat it along with salad or crusty bread or sauteed kale. A few friends have requested recipes, so I'll share what we made tonight. The sweet potato has been blogged before, but it's worth a repeat mention. We kind of wing it where soup is concerned - I just make sure that ratios of "stuff" to liquid are pretty consistent.
Split pea soup - saute chopped onions, carrots and celery until soft (probably a cup of each). Add 8 cups of broth or water, a pound of dried split peas, a ham hock or diced ham if you're a meat eater, or not if you're not. Season with salt & pepper. Let cook until the peas are soft. Use the immersion blender to mostly puree the soup, or put half into a blender and then add it back in if you don't have an immersion blender. If you don't have an immersion blender, you should get one. It's vital for soup.
Lentil & Barley soup - saute chopped onions, carrots and celery, as above. If you like meat, then cook up about 1/2 lb of pork sausage with your mirepoix. I've used Italian sausage, breakfast sausage, or whatever I have on hand. The ham hock works well here too. If that's not your thing, then just skip it. Add 2 cups of green lentils and 1-2 cups of barley (I use 2 cups) and 8 cups of broth or water. Season with salt & pepper. Let simmer until lentils are cooked through and barley is toothy but tender. It'll be pretty thick if you put in the full 2 cups of barley, so you can adjust the liquid according to your liking. We like it thick around here.
Curried sweet potato and apple soup - saute chopped onions, carrots and celery, as above. Add 4 cups of broth or water along with 2 medium sweet potatoes, chopped and a chopped apple or two (preferably tart), salt and pepper and simmer until the sweet potatoes are soft. Dust off that immersion blender and blend until smooth. Add a can of coconut milk and about a tablespoon (or 2) of curry paste/powder to taste.
That's it! You can throw in whatever veggies you have in the fridge. Greens are great in the lentil soup. Parsnips would be a good addition to the sweet potato. Cooking big pots of all 3 took about an hour total. I'll freeze half of the sweet potato and the pea because they freeze beautifully and are perfect when you have no idea what to cook for dinner.
The baby is not a huge fan of the split pea (although the other kids love it) but she likes the other two. And let me tell you, nothing warms my heart like hearing Annika say "YAY" when I tell her split pea soup is for dinner. I've done something right.