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February 08, 2013: A Winter-Storm Pottage

February 8, 2013

Winter-Storm PottageDue to the wonders of modern meteorology, New England has had a decent advance warning of the current Winter storm. The last few days I could observe my fellow New Englanders preparing: oceans of people at the grocery stores, gas stations, etc. They are saying three feet now, and vehicular travel has been prohibited after 4pm today, punishable by $500 and/or a year in jail!

So, there’s a few things I do to get ready for a storm. First, knowing that I wouldn’t be able to run for a couple of days, I managed to get off a run before the snow got too deep. A run for me, is both bracing and warming. I realize that a run in Winter weather is not everyone’s cup of tea, but then why not try a cup of warm tea (or coffee or cocoa) to warm up? Then, a warm shower. Then, dressing for a cold house: thermals plus double-flannels. Finally, and the best…a warm, vegetable pottage!

This is my clone of my most favorite prepared food: Progreso Lentil Soup. At close to $1.50 for a 19 oz. can, I realized that, for a little bit more investment, I could make a more healthy and tasty version, and make much, much more , that would keep me fed for some time! It has an added quality of having a nice bright red color, more appealing than the rather gray-ish store-bought brand.

Winter-Storm Pottage
Take 1lb. dry lentils, sort to look for stones and cover with cold H2O for two hours. Skin and slice thin, 3 medium carrots. Dice celery and sweet red pepper to make 2C. celery and 1/2C. pepper. Skin and dice 1 large Vidalia Onion and 1 large clove Elephant Garlic. Add onion, carrots, peppers and garlic to 2 Tblsps. Olive Oil and sautee, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft. Add lentils and 2 Qts. veggie broth. Bring to boil, reduce heat, and add celery and 1 (1Lb. can) of crushed tomatoes and 3 Tblsp. tomato paste. Add 1 Tblsp. each dried Oregano, Basil and sal de mer, ground pepper, 1.5 Tblsp. Cumin and 1 Bay Leaf. Simmer for about an hour until the lentils soften. Remove bay leaf and give a short grind with an immersion blender (not too much…you want to have about 1/2 ground, but leave enough of the veggie to give the pottage substance and texture.) Add filtered H2O to correct the texture, and while still warm, taste and correct the seasoning.

This recipe made about 6 Qts. of pottage. When cool, half went into the freezer. The rest improves as leftovers as the pottage flavors blend over time.. This pottage is wonderful with cheese, a good bread and a glass of a hearty red wine!

To my fellow New Englanders: careful driving and shoveling, stay off the roads if you can, and warm up with this delicious pottage!

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2 comments

  1. I love your recipe, Steve, though I omit the cumin…not a big fan unless it is the tiniest amount…I serve my lentil soup with pumpernickel bread..We buy a BIG round bread and cut it into thick slices…then we dip it into the juices of the soup. p umpernickel bread is so healthy..no cholesterol, only 1 gram of sugar , and 20 g’s of carb per big thick slice…I am in the midst of slashing my cholesterol …out of 280-300 g s
    allowed per day, I am only taking in around 90-100.

    this soup is great..carry on oh great chef.

    Kathy


    • Kathy,

      I’m not usually a big fan of cumin either, with it’s distinctive “old-man-sweat-smell,” but I have to admit that cumin brings a depth to bean dishes like these (especially when cooked with a tomato base, like this pottage is.) Under these conditions cumin mellows and adds to the dish in a more subtle way than one would expect. It also adds color, making the stock a more rich red-yellow hue.

      Of course, all my recipes are “suggestions only” so feel free to elaborate, adapt, change, and make it your own!



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