Snow soup

24 Jan

IMG_3777

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.

IMG_3779I may be the only person in my family who likes mushrooms.  Such a treat for me to toss handfuls into the pan for a nice saute with some shallots and leeks.

IMG_3783And mmmmm, when they start to look like this I add in some sherry.  (Only today I didn’t have sherry, so I added in brandy.  I love cooking for myself.  I never complain about substitutions.)

IMG_3782Since I had some pretty lentils, I added them in, too.  And since I happened to have one lovely hamburger leftover from the weekend’s grill, I sliced that up to add in as well.

IMG_3792I could have eaten my ‘soup’ just like this out of the saute pan.  But …

IMG_3799I managed to get it into the broth, and eventually in to my bowl.  With a wedge of soft cheese in the middle, of course.  Because when I cook for myself, sky’s the limit.

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.

Ingredients:

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!

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5 Responses to “Snow soup”

  1. Zazzy January 24, 2013 at 4:31 pm #

    I like mushrooms – we can eat mushrooms together. I’m not a big fan of mushroom soup, however, mostly because I’ve only ever been tormented with canned cream of mushroom soup, So, when you said you were making mushroom soup I almost just said “Eww” and moved on. This soup looks delicious! The lentils are a good source of protein and fiber so yay for lentils. I probably would have screwed up the healthy parts by adding heavy cream but perhaps I could be restrained.

    • Monique January 24, 2013 at 7:30 pm #

      I don’t like cream of mushroom, maybe because of those same cans of soup. But a bit of cheese or yogurt gives me some creaminess without all the cream and butter. I’m so glad you didn’t just say ‘ewww’ and move on!! lol

    • Sarah January 24, 2013 at 7:42 pm #

      Zazzy – had to laugh at your post, because a few weeks ago we were scrounging for something to make very late for dinner (tea), and my husband made cream of mushroom and cream of chicken mixed together (because that was two things he found in the cabinet) – not one of our better meal planning days. It was like eating gravy with a spoon. I may never eat it again. I’m sure I had those to add into some other recipe, and I’m not sure I’ve ever had them on their own. And probably never again! lol!

  2. Louise Ruggeri January 27, 2013 at 5:21 am #

    Oh wow Mrs. Crumpet, this looks amazing! Especially the bit of cheese in there. I’m a huge fan of grating cheese on soup, or adding a rind of Parmigiano-Reggiano to a broth for flavor, but I’ve never thought to put a little wedge of a soft cheese RIGHT IN THE BOWL. You are a genius. Great post, as usual!

    • Monique January 27, 2013 at 10:07 pm #

      Oh yeah, wallop that cheese right in there, so yummy! Thanks for dropping in!

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