Before I learned about cooking, statements like “Food connects us” sounded fantastically cheesy. After all, I could easily buy a frozen pasty pocket at the grocery for dinner with no need to rely on anyone to get it and certainly no need to eat it with anyone. Throw in a self-checkout and my meal might have absolutely no human connection.
Little by little we’ve come to know new way to eat that involves people at every turn: growing the food, teaching us how to prepare it, and eating it with us. Food has connected us to some of the most fascinating, generous, and inspiring people I’ve met. People like Anna Watson Carl of The Yellow Table blog and cookbook of the same name. She’s home cook in NYC who radiates passion from her space on the internet. I was drawn to her zeal for entertaining and her authentic writing a few years ago, like this post on Choosing Connection Not Perfection. We’ve been virtual friends since, and I hope at some point we’ll make it to “real life” status.
Anna self-published a cookbook based on her blog, and it was so popular it’s now been picked up by a publisher and is now more widely available! It’s a fantastic book; a mix of classic yet approachable recipes that can be whipped up in about 30 minutes and appeal to a wide variety of palates and diets (we found plenty of veggie-centric options). A fun feature is affordable wine pairings listed with the main dishes, and some tips for throwing dinner parties (our fave). We picked this sprouted lentil soup to try for a dinner with friends and we were sold. It was relatively quick and easy to put together, and full of flavor. A highlight for me was the sprouted lentils; I hadn’t cooked sprouted dry lentils before, but I loved the gentle texture and will definitely work with them again. We served our stew with crusty bread and salad, and it was an easy casual Sunday night supper with friends. Congratulations to Anna for your work on this book; it’s a gem!Print
You can find sprouted lentils at Whole Foods beside the regular lentils, or sprout your own.
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion
- 2 medium carrots
- 2 ribs celery
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 15-ounce can diced tomatoes with their juices
- 10-ounce package sprouted green lentils
- 1 bunch Tuscan (Lacinato) kale, tough stems removed, cut into bite-sized pieces
- Crusty bread, for serving
- Dice 1 yellow onion. Peel and dice 2 carrots and 2 ribs celery. Mince 2 cloves garlic.
- In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and saute, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft and the onion is translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir the garlic and saute, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the cumin, coriander, and red pepper flakes, if using, and saute, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Add the vegetable stock, the tomatoes and their juices, and the lentils, and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until thickened, 20-25 minutes. Stir in the kale and simmer over low heat until wilted, 1-2 minutes. Taste, and season generously with salt and pepper.
- Serve in shallow bowls with crusty bread. Store the soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. When reheating leftovers, you may need to add a little water, because the soup gets thicker the longer it sits.
Reprinted with permission from The Yellow Table by Anna Watson Carl