Soups for the Coming Winter
I began writing this blog post, and realized that what I had written was a complaint about the arrival of Winter. I wrote about my distaste for the time change, the cold, and the dark. I explained how our calendar of bookings was emptying drastically in comparison to the previous month, and lamented that events are now starting several hours after dark since the sun is setting earlier each day. It read like a teenagers diary complaining about having to go to school meeting a natural disaster report in a local newspaper. Don’t worry; I deleted it.
I expressed my struggle in writing, and my distaste of Winter, to my colleague. He told me about a term that the Danish and Norwegians use. “Hygge” refers to the cultivation of a warm, cozy atmosphere within the home. During the Scandinavian winters, throughout the cold, dark months, individuals work harder to create a better atmosphere in the home. To make it somewhere that you want to be. They make fires, invest in good lighting, and use different scents to improve the demeanor of the home. My colleague also shared that he does similar things to fight off winter woes; a fire in the fireplace and a pot of hot water on the stove, filled with cloves and other spices, allowing their scents to permeate throughout the home.
So, I have decided to do the same; I am making more soup, lighting candles when I arrive home, and pouring a glass of a bold, wintery red wine. I am trying to embrace it, the cold darkness that seems to be so distasteful to me. I am embracing being in bed by 8pm, embracing soup, because gosh we will be eating a lot of it for the next few months, and embracing winter and the hygge that we can build within it.
WINTER VEGETABLE SOUP WITH SPLIT RED LENTILS
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 3 celery stalks, diced
- 3 medium carrots, trimmed, peeled, and diced
- 2 medium zucchini, ends trimmed and chopped into 3/4-inch chunks
- 3 Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed and chopped into 3/4-inch cubes
- 3/4 cup split red lentils
- 1 cup canned chopped tomatoes (with their juices)
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 5 cups chicken (or vegetable) stock
- 1 teaspoon kosher sea salt, plus more
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2-3 cups finely sliced savoy cabbage, reserved for later
- extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley (or basil), for garnishing
- freshly grated parmesan cheese, for garnishing
So many vegetables. So much flavor to come. Put everything in to a slow cooker except the cabbage and garnishes, and cook on high for 4-6 hours. Add the cabbage for the last hour of cooking. Add salt and pepper to taste, garnish, and enjoy!
CURRIED PEA SOUP
- 400 g frozen garden peas
- 200 ml coconut milk
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 500 ml vegetable stock
- 1 onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 green chili
- Dice the onion, garlic and green chili, then sauté in coconut oil over a medium heat under the onions turn translucent. Add the curry powder and stir to coat.
- Stir in vegetable stock and turn up the heat and boil for 3 minutes.
- Add in the frozen peas and stir to combine. Turn down the heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Transfer solids to a blender and 100 ml of the liquid, blend until smooth.
- Pour mixture back into the pan with the remaining liquids and stir over a low heat.
- Add the coconut milk and stir until combined.
- Serve hot seasoned with Black Pepper