Oh how I hate headaches. I only get about 4 a year, so I'm lucky. But when I do get one, I turn into a huge whiny baby. I hate the feeling of the pressure behind the eyes and just the pain that makes you not want to do anything but lay on the couch and wait for it to go away. I had a headache tonight, so I decided against cooking. Luckily I have a few dishes I haven't shared with you yet, so let's dip into my backlog of already-made-and-eaten-up recipes, shall we?
This recipe started out as one that I found on the Internet and as I started making it, I realized the recipe I was following was total crap. I should have known better when it said to add the 8 cups of WATER instead of some sort of broth or stock to the vegetables to start the base of the soup. Yeah, I know, you can make soup using water, but it takes all damn day and you need things in that soup like ham hocks, bones, carcasses, etc. that were not found in this recipe. I replaced the *brilliant* 8 cups of water suggestion with 4 cups water/5 cups chicken broth. After that, I just started adding more and more things to this recipe that I now pronounce it my own.
So, here it is folks, another Tara original.
I started by adding a mirepoix and garlic to some hot olive oil in a large stock pot.
I sauteed the vegetables over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes until the onions were tender.
Next, I added 4 cups water, 5 cups chicken broth, three tablespoons tomato paste, a cup and a half of lentils,
1 14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes, and a bay leaf. I seasoned it with crushed red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste. I brought the soup to a boil, then lowered the heat just to medium and allowed it to reduce for about 15 minutes.
While the soup was reducing, I heated a little more olive oil in a saute pan and added a little over a cup of smoked turkey chopped into little bite sized pieces, a minced clove of garlic, and a 5 oz. package of fresh arugula. I seasoned the mixture with a little cracked black pepper. Thanks to our neighbor for providing us with this turkey that he smoked himself!
Saute the mixture just until all the arugula wilts into the pan, then remove it from the heat. You want to preserve the bright green color and fresh flavor of the arugula.
Now, add the smoked turkey and arugula mixture to your soup along with a 1/2 cup of half and half. Let the soup cook uncovered for another 10 minutes. Now, taste the soup and add more salt and pepper if needed. The soup should taste silky, smoky, and have a bit of a kick to it. Also make sure the lentils are cooked and tender. If not, let the soup continue to cook until they're done.
Take a look at this bread Mark brought home from Wegmans in Buffalo, NY. We are in complete love with Wegmans by the way. Please come to Ohio!!! I don't remember what this bread is called, but it's nice and crusty on the outside, soft and hearty on the inside. It tastes like a loaf of Tuscan bread, but heartier. I love the outside of this bread. It reminds me of that cinnamon sugary bagel you can get at Panera. You know which one I'm talking about? Uh... it's so good. Anyway, this bread wasn't sweet at all, but was a very good companion to the soup once drizzled with olive oil and grilled.
This soup was great, but please note - the smoked turkey was key. You need that depth of flavor and saltiness for this recipe to be at its best.
Well, that's it for tonight. I will leave you with something cute, how 'bout that? Mark made hot chocolate on the stove last weekend and someone could hardly contain themselves around the little saucepan of warming milk... hahaha... You have to admire his patience at least.