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soup

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Armenian Red Lentil and Apricot Soup Recipe

vegetables for Armenian Red Lentil and Apricot Soup The days are getting shorter, the nights cooler. Sweaters are coming out of their storage bins, light ones first. The heavy wool ones will come later. The rain jackets are hung in the front closet. Rain boots are placed in the hallway near the door. Autumn is coming.

Cooler weather also means new menus. So, I’m filling my pantry and freezer with new ingredients for these approaching autumn days: pasta for comforting macaroni and cheese and hearty lasagna, beans for chili and soups, and dried fruit, nuts and a multitude of flours for baking – cookies, squares and pies. And I’m filling my downstairs freezer with big containers of soup stock.

Armenian Red Lentil and Apricot Soup
This Armenian Red Lentil and Apricot Soup is a perfect seguay into our autumn menus. The earthy onions, carrots and lentils remind us of the approaching coolness, while the flavour of the sweet apricots tug at the memory of the summer weather that hasn’t completely ended.

Apricots have always been very special in Armenia, as their scientific name, Prunus Armeniaca, or Armenian prunes, shows. They have grown in Armenia for many centuries. A recent dig at an ancient village found apricot cores that were over 3,000 years old!

So, it goes without saying, that Armenians use apricots in many of their dishes.. During apricot season, women make jams, marmalades, even homemade apricot vodka. After the season has ended, apricots are places on balconies and rooftops to dry in the sun to be used whole or made into apricot leather. Armenians want their precious apricots to last until the next season.

This soup is very tasty and also very nutritious. This soup provides an excellent source of iron, protein, folate, B vitamins, Vitamins A and C as well as potassium. Not bad for one bowl of soup.

You can use store bought of homemade vegetable stock. If you want to make your own vegetable stock, you can find my recipe here.

If anyone had any doubts about vegan food – whether it’s tasty, nutritious or filling – one bowl of this soup would settle that argument. I hope you enjoy my Armenian Red Lentil and Apricot Soup.

Enjoy!

Armenian Red Lentil and Apricot Soup

Print Recipe
Serves: 4-6 Cooking Time: 40-60 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots (200 grams), peeled and chopped
  • 1 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed and chopped
  • 1/2 cup apricots, chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • 2/3 cup red lentils, washed
  • 1 litre vegetable broth
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • a handful of parsley, chopped

Instructions

1

Saute the onions and carrots. When almost soft, add the garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

2

Add apricots and cumin powder and cook until aromatic.

3

Add tomato puree.

4

Then add the lentils, vegetable broth and thyme.

5

Bring the soup up to a boil, and then simmer for about 20 minutes.

6

Take the soup off the heat. Add the lemon juice, salt and pepper.

7

Either blitz half of the soup in the blender, or use a hand held mixer, and blitz a bit, but make sure it's not entirely pureed.

8

Serve in bowls with parsley sprinkled on top.

 

 

 

Cooking

Vegetable Stock Recipe

 

 

vegetable stock in a jar with fresh herbs

I love making soup, especially in the winter. But to make a soup with lots of flavour, I like to make sure that I have a good hearty homemade stock in my freezer. Homemade stock to me is the best: it’s fresh tasting, you have complete control over the flavours as well as seasoning, especially the salt and it’s quick and inexpensive to make. Store bought stock has way too much sodium and too little flavour. The best stock to make, in my opinion, is vegetable stock. I stopped making chicken stock a few years ago. I find it too strong, too oily, too overpowering. So now I only make vegetable stock.

Vegetable stocks are super fast and easy to make. You can use any mild flavoured vegetable but the main ingredients that I use are carrots, onions, celery and a few herbs. And I bet most people have those ingredients in your pantry/refrigerator most of the time. You could also use tomatoes, leeks, and mushrooms. Try to use the same amount of each vegetable so that the stock has a balanced flavour.  Add some fresh herbs such as parsley, oregano, basil or thyme to brighten the flavour profile of your stock.  I don’t add any salt or pepper to the stock as I prefer to add seasoning to the final dish.

This recipe is the one I use time and time again whenever I make a batch of homemade soup – even if the soup has beef or chicken in it, I still use a vegetable stock. This is the stock I use when I make Lemon Ginger Carrot Soup or Cheddar Cheese and Apple Cider Soup.

 

raw-chopped vegetables

Vegetable Stock is super easy to make yourself. You can make a quick batch of stock with ingredients that you most likely have on hand. Here is a list of tips when making homemade vegetable stock:

  • use mild flavoured vegetables such as onions, leeks, scallions, carrots, celery
  • you can also use tomatoes, mushrooms or fennel
  • do not use rutabaga, potato or sweet potato as it will create a gummy texture
  • you can add in some mild herbs such as thyme, oregano, basil or parsley
  • do not use garlic unless you are making the stock for a specific recipe (or enjoy garlic in all your soups)
  • you can scrub the vegetables to remove any loose dirt, but do not need to peel (unless you would like to)
  • you can roast the vegetables in the oven for a deeper and more flavorsome stock, or brown in a pan until golden
  • simmer the vegetables in a small amount of water (just covering the vegetables) for a deep, rich flavour
  • simmer for anywhere from 20 minutes to one hour. Whatever suits your schedule.

vegetables-sauteeing-in-pan.

Brown the vegetables before simmering them in water until they have some good colour on them, as in the photo above. Browning the vegetables gives the stock a richer flavour and colour. However, if you are short on time, you can leave out this step. Just dump the prepped vegetables into a pot, add some water and simmer for 20 minutes to one hour, depending on your schedule.

After you are done simmering, strain the vegetables into another pot. Let the broth cool down to room temperature. This may take 1-2 hours. Then ladle into containers. Label the containers with the name and date. If you are storing your stock in the refrigerator, use within a couple of days.

Soup stock also freezes really well. I usually freeze my stock in various sized containers: a 3-cup container for soup, as well as a couple of 1/2 to 1 cup containers to add to sauces. You can also freeze some in ice cube trays if you want smaller amounts. If you freeze any in ice cube trays, once the stock is frozen, place the little frozen cubes of vegetable stock in a ziplock bag (remember to label the bag – I have found many unlabelled items in my freezer and had no idea what they were or how long they had been there).  Use the frozen stock within 3 months.

You’re going to love this one! Let me know what soups you make with this stock!

vegetable stock with onion and herbs

Readings to inspire you to make your own stock:

Everything you need to know about canned and boxed broth.

Store-bought Beef Broth.

 

Vegetable Stock

Print Recipe
Serves: 2 litres Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled or scrubbed and chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, washed and chopped
  • 1 bunch of scallions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 parsley branches
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 thyme sprigs

Instructions

1

Heat the oil in a large pot. Add all the vegetables and herbs.

2

Saute over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. The more colour that the vegetables get, the more flavour the stock will have.

3

Once they are all nicely coloured, add 2 litres of water. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, with the lid half on, for about 30 minutes.

4

Strain out the vegetables. Let the stock cool.

5

Pour into freezable containers. Label the containers with the name and the date.

6

If you will be using the stock within a couple days, store in the refrigerator. Otherwise place in freezer for up to 3 months.


Recipe adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison.

Cooking

Lemon Ginger Carrot Soup Recipe + Tips on how to get your Children to enjoy Soup

carrot lemon soup in bowl on table

This lemon ginger carrot soup is one of the easiest soups to make. Not only does it whip up quick, but the ingredients are items that I usually have on hand: carrots, onions, garlic, ginger, vegetable stock and tomatoes. I always have those items in my fridge. Also, this soup freezes beautifully because it does not contain any dairy ingredients. So, you can easily double the recipe and freeze some for later. The texture is so smooth and silky. And the lemon really pops!

It makes a perfect lunch on a snowy Sunday after you’ve had some fun on the snow or ice – skating, skiing, snowshoeing or tobogganing. There is no end to the fun you can have outside in winter.

carrot lemon soup in bowl near window

Lemon ginger carrot soup is my favourite carrot soup recipe. I have made many variations of carrot soup over the years, but none of them were as satisfying as this one. I love the lemon in the recipe. It seems to lift the flavours and makes the carrots taste less heavy. I always use vegetable stock when making homemade soup. It’s super easy to make yourself and the ingredients are usually items that I have in the fridge.

Most people always think of soup as adult food. It can take awhile for kids to come around to enjoying soup – except maybe chicken noodle. Most kid’s seem to like that one. Perhaps because it’s about the only thing that tastes good when you’re sick. But soup doesn’t only need to be eaten when you’re stick. And you don’t have to be an adult to enjoy soup. Being a parent to two boys, I completely understand the difficulty in trying to get your children to try new foods.  When our boys were little we had all sorts of fun coming up with funny names for new dishes and using other fun strategies to encourage our children to try new dishes.

Here are a few tips that I remember when introducing new foods to children:

  • Never force your child to eat anything that they are not interested in trying (dietitians, nutritionists, family doctors all say this. I can attest to this from personal experience. Which is why you will not find recipes on this blog about squash. Unless someone else writes it.)
  • Put new foods on the table and ask you child if they would like to try some.
  • Don’t get frustrated if they are not keen to try something new, sometimes it can take up to 3 times for a child to start to enjoy a food or even want to try.
  • Have your children help you make dinner. Even for this soup they could: get the carrots out of the fridge, scrub or peel them; get the onions, garlic, lemons and tomatoes ready for you; they could stir the pot on the stove if they are old enough and there is an adult nearby to help; they could chop the carrots, if you’ve shown them how to correctly do that, etc. They could also set the table with bowls (instead of plates – kids get excited about new things).
  • Read some books about cooking and eating. There are a lot of children’s books that centre around food. Quite often reading a book that incorporates cooking and eating can encourage your children to try new things. Here is a list of books you should be able to pick up from your library.  This list only includes books about soup, as that’s what my post is on today. I’ll try to dig up other books for future topics.

 

  • Here is the list:
  • Stone Soup by Marcia Brown
  • Duck Soup by Jackie Urbanovic
  • Chicken Soup with Rice by Maurice Sendak
  • Cactus Soup by Eric Kimmel (mexican verison of Stone Soup)
  • Perfect Soup by Lisa Moser
  • Chicken Soup, Chicken Soup by Pamela Mayer
  • Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Ehlert
  • Delicious by Helen Cooper
  • There’s a Giraffe in my Soup by Ross Burach
  • Soup Day by Melissa Iwai
  • If you have some space in your backyard, try planting a few vegetables such as carrots, spinach, zucchini or pumpkin. Pumpkin is great fun to grow because it is excellent for making soup as well as using for hallowe’en. Zucchini is also a fantastic vegetable to grow as it’s super easy and even from just a couple of plants, you will have loads of zucchini – and there are so many things you can make from zucchini.  If your backyard isn’t big enough to grow some vegetables, maybe you could share a plot in an allotment garden if you have one nearby. Tons of family fun.

Let me know if any of these tips work out for you. And let me know how your children enjoyed this soup.

In the meantime here are a couple of articles I enjoyed reading on the subject of encouraging healthy eating in children.

Teaching Your Children To Cook

Tips on Encouraging Children to Eat Healthy

Thanks for reading!

 

carrot lemon soup in bowl on blue napkin

 

 

Recipe is adapted from Carrot Soup with Ginger and Lemon by Epicurious.com.

 

Lemon Ginger Carrot Soup

Print Recipe
Serves: 8 Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
  • 3 tsp minced garlic
  • 3 pounds carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 3 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 6-7 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Instructions

1

Melt the butter in a large heavy pot on medium heat. Add the onion and saute for a few minutes.

2

Add ginger and garlic and saute until fragrant 1-2 minutes

3

Add the carrots, tomatoes and lemon peel and saute briefly for about 1 minute.

4

Add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, put the lid on, but leave an opening, and simmer until the carrots are very soft. This will take about 20-30 minutes.

5

Let the soup cool a little bit. Then puree the soup in batches in the blender until very very smooth. Pour the soup back into the clean pot. Add the lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste.

6

Add a bit more stock if soup is too thick.

 

Cooking

Cheddar Cheese and Apple Cider Soup

cheese soup with apple cider in a bowl
This recipe is from Nigel Slater. He is a British cook/baker who writes regularly for The Guardian Newspaper in the UK and has published several cookbooks.  I really like his recipes as he has an amazing palette. I have a couple of his cookbooks and all of his recipes exude flavour right off the page.  The recipes caramelize, melt, ooze, saturate, soak, and glisten so much you can taste the finished product just from reading the recipe.  That’s what captured my attention with this Cheddar Cheese and Apple Cider Soup recipe: onions, carrots and celery simmered in butter until soft followed by grated old cheddar cheese, mustard, vegetable stock and apple cider. You can’t go wrong with that flavour combination.

I love having soup at lunchtime. Whether served up piping hot in a big bowl at home with some crackers and a mug of your favorite herbal tea or packed up in a thermos with a couple of slices of bread and a cluster of grapes and taken to work, soup hits the spot. It is healthy, budget friendly and comforting, not to mention warming you up on a frosty winter day. And if you live in Canada, this has been an exceptionally frosty winter.

If you do not own a thermos, you should consider purchasing one. Next time you’re at Mountain Equipment Co-Op or even your local grocery store, have a look out for one.  A good quality thermos can keep soup piping hot for 6-8 hours. Taking soup to work for lunchtime is a good break from sandwiches and much cheaper (and healthier) than buying a take-away meal. Although fantastic at lunchtime, this soup is also elegant enough to serve for a small dinner party with dinner rolls and a simple salad.
cheese soup with apple cider in a bowl

I love this soup for many reasons. For one, it’s not too cheesey as it’s paired with apple cider and has loads of onions, carrots and celery added in so you don’t feel like you’re eating a bowl of melted cheese.  The apple cider is a nice addition, instead of the more common beer. It’s lighter and the apple flavor lifts the heaviness of the cheese. It is simply sublime.

frozen rose bud with rose in background

frozen rose in my garden

The old cherry tree’s

final blossoms are her last

cherished memory

Matsuo Basho

Cheddar Cheese and Apple Cider Soup

Print Recipe
Serves: 6 Cooking Time: 15-30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 medium onions chopped
  • 30 g butter
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled, diced
  • 1 celery stick, diced
  • 400 ml milk
  • 45 g plain flour
  • 400 mL vegetable stock
  • 350 mL can of Apple Cider
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 400 grams cheddar cheese, grated
  • chopped parsley for decorations

Instructions

1

Peel and chop the onions. Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the onions and cook until soft.

2

Add the diced carrots and celery to the pan and continue cooking for about 10 minutes or so, until all vegetables are tender

3

Warm the milk in a small pot. Add the flour to the vegetables, stir everything together, and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes. Add the warm milk and stir until you have a thick sauce.

4

Add in the vegetable stock and cider, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and let the mixture simmer for just a few minutes. Stir in the mustard.

5

Add the grated cheese and stir until all the cheese is melted. Let it simmer for about 5 minutes (Do not let it boil).

6

Serve with bread and chopped parsley on top.

Recipe adapted from Nigel Slater’s Cheddar and Cider Soup.