Monday, December 3, 2012

Monastic Soup

Sometimes I get in a contemplative mood and want to eat very simply and frugally in order to allow my mind to be more focused on things other than food. When I do, I make soups like this and imagine that I'm living in a small rustic cabin somewhere being really mystic. I once took a class on the Desert Fathers (the monks who lived out in the desert), and around this time of year I like to revisit their writings (along with the writings of the early Mothers). Maybe it's me being all opposite like usual and seeking frugality and simplicity in a time of hyper consumption and over eating. So this is my contemplative soup.

1/2 c. dried lentils (I like black in here, but any kind will work)
1/2 c. dried split peas
1/2 c. dried mung beans
1 large carrot, diced very small
1 leek, thinly diced very small
1 onion, diced very small
1 stalk celery, diced very small
1-2 root vegetables, diced very small (potato, parsnip, celeric, turnip, etc., I like the combination of a russet potato and celeric)
1 bay leaf
8 c. vegetable broth and/or water (plus more as needed)
2 c. thinly sliced green cabbage
3 Tbsp. red or white wine vinegar
Sea salt and pepper to taste

1)  Sort and rinse the legumes and then add them to the pot with 8 c. of vegetable broth or water and place the pot over high heat to bring to a boil.

2) As the liquid comes to a boil, dice the vegetables and then add everything except for the cabbage, vinegar and salt & pepper to the soup.

3) Once the soup comes to a boil turn the heat to medium so that it stays at a high simmer and let it cook, uncovered for 30 minutes. Make sure to stir it occasionally to keep the split peas from sticking to the bottom of the pot as they often like to do. Add more broth or water if the liquid evaporates too much (you want the legumes to be submerged in liquid so they can cook).

4) After 30 minutes add the cabbage and salt and pepper to taste. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally and adding more liquid if it evaporates too much, for an additional hour or until all of the legumes are fully cooked and soft.

5) Add the vinegar and stir to incorporate.

This makes about 4-6 servings and is excellent with a slice of dense, rustic bread.When reheating leftovers of this soup you may want to add a little water to thin it out if it seems too thick.

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