On a day that probably should be a day off school for the kids (but isn’t) you might find yourself quietly at home with no particular obligations (because you canceled them thinking it would be a snow day) — and the question of what to have for lunch will inevitably arise. There’s no one at home to make a fuss about whatever strange thing you concoct on the stove (in Britspeak the ‘hob’ — why they think they cook on hobgoblins I don’t know). You want something that will help you carry on in your quest to embrace these snowy winter days. For me, the choice is obvious: homemade mushroom soup.
This soup has the benefit of being dairy-free (if you don’t garnish with cheese), gluten-free, relatively low-carb (lower if you ditch the lentils), and has a good amount of protein if you add in the beef. I’ve been caring about that sort of thing lately, and have fallen in love with the Recipe Calculator from sparkpeople.com that lets me add up my ingredients then gives me a nutrition breakdown for home made meals. Brilliant.
About 2 cups of chopped mushrooms (whatever kind you like)
About 1 cup of sliced shallots
About 1 cup of sliced leeks
About 2 ounces of cooked ground beef
About half a cup of lentils
2 tbsp sherry (or brandy. or whatever)
1 tsp each of rosemary, tarragon, parsley, sage (adjust to taste or use different herbs)
10-12 whole pepper kernels
2 cups of beef broth (Or chicken, or vegetable. Wouldn’t recommend fish.)
1 cup water
salt to taste
Saute shallot and leeks in butter (coconut oil if you are avoiding dairy) until soft, add mushrooms. Saute everything until it starts to look brown and lovely. Add herbs, add sherry, wait a moment, then add beef and lentils. Reduce heat and let everything simmer together for a few minutes. While this is simmering, bring broth to a boil in a soup pan. Once the broth is very hot, add everything from your saute pan to the broth and let it return to a boil. Pour water into the saute pan to get all the juices and flavor from that pan — add this to the broth as well. Cover, reduce heat to simmer. Simmer until it looks good. (Half an hour, if you’re in a hurry.) Garnish with a soft cheese, a spoonful of greek yogurt, or nothing at all. Enjoy!