Thursday, March 15, 2007

Post vacation blues - MUSHROOM AND LENTIL SOUP

Everyone from Saskatchewan who goes on a warm vacation in March is hoping to return home to spring. Ha! On the last day of our vacation, we awoke to soft breezes and palm trees and landed home in a complete whiteout. How depressing.

We had very little food in the fridge, but darned if I was venturing back out in that cold. However, I had picked up a stray copy of the Ottawa Citizen in the Vancouver airport and found this recipe for a curried soup. It was the perfect antidote to a wintery day in March. It’s chock full of Saskatchewan ingredients and, with slight modifications, I had everything on hand.

CURRIED MUSHROOM LENTIL SOUP
While the recipe calls for fresh mushrooms, I used chanterelles from La Ronge that I sautéed in butter and froze last summer.

1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 onion chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. ginger root, minced
1 lb. mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp. curry powder
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 cup lentils
1 cup pearl barley
8 cups chicken broth

Heat the oil in a large pot. Sauté the onions, garlic and ginger until soft. Add the mushrooms, curry powder and thyme. When the mushrooms are wilted, stir in the lentils and barley, coating them well with the onions and spices, and cook until all the moisture is gone. Add the chicken stock (or water). Simmer until the grains are cooked, about an hour, adding more liquid if the soup gets too thick. Season with salt and pepper to your taste. Serving option: sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese.

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