1. SPICED LENTIL & TOMATO SOUP
1 tbsp olive oil
2 small onions chopped
3 cloves garlic sliced
1 knob ginger grated
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
2 cups red Lentils rinsed
5 cups water
3 tomatoes chopped
1 organic veg stock cube
Juice 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp sea Salt
Black Pepper to taste
Add the onion to a large pan with the olive oil and sauté for 10 minutes on a low heat. Add in the spices, garlic & ginger and fry for a further few minutes.
Thoroughly wash & drain the lentils.
Next add the lentils, water, veg stock cube and the tomatoes to the pan and simmer for 20 minutes on a low heat.
Finally squeeze in the lemon juice and season with salt & pepper.
2. CREAMY CAULIFLOWER & BACON SOUP
1/2 pound sliced bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
6 scallions, white and pale green parts only, thinly sliced
4 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 quart low-sodium chicken stock, plus more as needed
2 bay leaves
1 cup half & half or heavy cream
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until bacon is completely crisp. Remove from Dutch oven with a slotted spoon and set aside, leaving the fat in the dutch oven.
Add onions, half of scallions, and garlic, and cook, stirring constantly and scraping up browned bits from the bottom of the pan until onion is softened, about 5 minutes.
Add chicken stock, bay leaves, half & half (or cream), and cauliflower. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and cook until cauliflower is completely tender, about 30 minutes,
Working in batches, blend soup until completely smooth (if you don't have a very powerful blender, remove the bay leaf before blending. If an extra-smooth soup is desired, pass the soup through a fine mesh strainer after blending); if soup is too thick, whisk in additional hot chicken stock, 1/2 cup at a time, until you've reached the desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve sprinkled with crisp bacon pieces and remaining scallions.
3. BUTTERNUT SQUASH & APPLE SOUP WITH GINGER AND TURMERIC
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion chopped
3 stalks celery chopped
1 carrot chopped
1 apple peeled and diced, plus more for garnish
1 pound butternut squash peeled, seeded and cut into 1 inch cubes
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
3 cups vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Add olive oil to a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add onions, celery, and carrot and cook, stirring, until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add apple, squash, salt, ginger, and turmeric and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add broth, bay leaf, and apple cider vinegar to the pot and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer until squash is tender, about 20 minutes.
Remove from heat and discard bay leaf. Puree ingredients in an immersion blender until soup reaches a smooth consistency. You can also add soup to a blender. If soup is too thick add 1/4 cup of broth or water at a time until desired consistency is attained. Taste and season again if necessary.
4. SLOW COOKER BEEF & BARLEY STEW
1 T. olive oil
2 lbs. boneless beef chuck roast, cut into 1" cubes
freshly ground black pepper
8 oz. mushrooms, cut into thin slices
8 large carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally into 1/2" pieces
6 large cloves garlic, minced
4 medium-large yellow potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
1 large yellow onion, chopped
6 c. low sodium beef broth
1 c. dry red wine
1/4 c. tomato paste
1 T. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. dried thyme
3/4 c. pearl barley
1 bay leaf
chopped fresh parsley
Sprinkle beef fairly generously with kosher salt and pepper. If you own this awesome slow cooker, where you can brown meat right in the slow cooker - add the oil to the slow cooker and then brown the beef right in the slow cooker, searing beef on all sides. Otherwise use a large skillet over medium-high heat to heat the oil and then brown the beef. Drain off fat. If using a skillet, transfer beef to slow cooker.
Add mushrooms, carrots, garlic, potatoes, onion, beef broth, wine, tomato paste, mustard, and thyme, and stir well to incorporate. Then stir in barley and add the bay leaf. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours. Then turn heat to low and cook for 2 hours more. Serve hot, with fresh parsley sprinkled over the top. A good, crusty bread for dipping is always welcome.