Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Veggie Queen's Black Lentil, Winter Vegetable and Wild Rice Soup

For many people, including me, yesterday was a cold day. I am not complaining but 40 degrees F. for us Northern California weather weenies is cold. But it's perfect soup weather. And if you've read any of my blog posts, you know that it's likely that I will pull out my pressure cooker and get to work making a fast soup.

I actually spent a bit more time (maybe 2 more minutes) thinking about this soup because I would have preferred barley but my husband doesn't really like it, or at least he doesn't think that he does. He actually prefers white rice but I'm not using that so...

Wild rice seemed like a happy compromise. I also wanted to use lentils and the black ones called to me. They are called Beluga black lentils because they look like caviar. I realized that my soup was going to be awfully dark, so I also added carrot, parsnip, celery and celery root, along with purple potatoes. After the initiail cooking, a peeled and ready to use kabocha squash showed up on my doorstep (you ought to see what shows up here -- usually edible, delicious and free) and that also got added.

Here is my best stab at the recipe. It's a highly adaptable soup so take what you like and leave the rest.

Takes 20 minutes at high pressure with a natural pressure release.

Black Lentil, Winter Vegetable and Wild Rice Soup
Makes about 2 quarts

1 tablespoon oil (optional)
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 bay leaf
2 medium purple potatoes, diced
1 small parsnip, diced
1/2 cup diced celery root (also called celeriac)
1 medium carrot, diced
1/3 cup black beluga, or other, lentils
2/3 cup wild rice
6 cups homemade vegetable stock
1 1/2 cups diced squash
Salt, pepper and herbs to taste

Add the oil to the cooker over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for a minute or 2. Add the garlic and celery and saute another minute. Add the remaining ingredients except squash,salt, pepper and herbs and lock on the pressure cooker lid. Bring to high pressure, then lower the heat to maintain high pressure. Cook for 20 minutes. Let the pressure come down naturally.

Open the lid carefully and add the squash, salt, pepper and your favorite herb blend. I used organic vegetable rub but Italian or your favorite seasoning would be good, too. This is a blank canvas, waiting for you to add color.

Lock the lid back on and bring to high pressure for another 3 minutes, or simmer on the stove top until the squash is done. Quick release the pressure. Serve hot. If you have any fresh green herbs such as parsley, cilantro or chives, they would make this soup look and taste even better (than it already is).

Do NOT do what I did, which was stir the soup and then put it back on the heat. The cooked lentils will sink to the bottom and burn.

Add more stock or water, if the soup is too thick. I like mine thick. It's a meal in a bowl. Serve with salad and/or bread.



Debbie said...

Mmm. Sounds heavenly. It's 7 degrees F here and snowing, so this would have been perfect for today. But it will also be perfect for one day soon. Thanks!

The Veggie Queen said...

I hope that you get to try it. It's good anytime that it's cold outside and you want to be warm inside.

I am eating the "planned overs" now.