After I had a major surgery, some instinct made me realize that I could make a difference in my state of being just by putting the right ingredients into my body (I know, shocking right?). For me, that was when eating stopped being a mindless act and became an act of nourishing the body. The difference between nourishment and food is the energy you put into it. There is nothing like a home cooked soup and it is especially satisfying to eat when you know there are no scary additives or preservatives hidden in there.
Here’s a recipe for Spanish Lentil Soup. If you’re like me, maybe half the reason you travel is so you can get a taste of something different. If you’re also like me, you don’t always have the funds to hop on a plane just for lunch and darn! all the authentic recipes for foreign dishes are in foreign languages! Well here’s one I translated for all of you Americans suffering the snowy winter. I don’t have the pleasure of enjoying the snow since it’s in the 50s and sunny here in Madrid but my body sure did love this nourishment anyway. Enjoy!
1 Cup Lentils
100 g Chorizo (leave this out if you’re veggie)
1 Ripe tomato
1 Italian green pepper (or half a green bell pepper)
1 Big carrot
1 Bay leaf
1 Medium potato
Half an onion
2 Garlic cloves (Fun fact: the Spanish use the word “teeth” instead of “clove”)
A crumbly chunk of bread or about 3/4 cup of fresh crumbs
Water, Olive oil, Salt, Pepper
You can mess around quite a bit with this recipe, don’t be scared to experiment!
1. Peel and dice (1/4 inch cubes) the carrot and potato. If you’re using chorizo, cut that into cubes too, about a half inch or smaller. Put these aside for later.
2. Rinse the lentils and put them in a large pot with 4 and 1/4 cups of water, the whole green pepper with a long cut on the end, the tomato cut in half, and the bay leaf.
3. Heat over medium heat until just about to boil, then lower to medium low and add the reserved carrot, potato, and chorizo plus a teaspoon and a half of salt. Don’t let the lentils boil. Stir well and leave them over medium-low heat for forty-five minutes to an hour and fifteen minutes, depending on the mineral content of your water. Mine were done after fifty minutes.
4. Meanwhile, let’s make a little stir fry to add body to the stock. Dice the onion finely and put aside. Cut the garlic into pieces, not too small. In slightly less than a quarter cup of oil, heat the garlic over medium heat until it has some color, maybe five minutes. Put the garlic aside for later, leaving the oil in the pan. Add the onion to the pan and heat over medium heat until they are transparent. Once heated to transparency, add the piece of bread or chunks and turn the heat up a tiny bit until the onions have a bit of color.
5. Remove the onion-bread mixture from the heat and add a teaspoon of pepper, stir for fifteen seconds. Add 3/4 cup of water and stir some more (still off of the heat). Move this mixture to the cup of your food processor and add the garlic from before. Mix that all up until you have a yummy totally-combined paste.
6. Add this paste to your simmering lentils and mix it up well. Leave the soup over the heat until the lentils are soft and the stock is integrated into the paste.
7. Use this time before the soup is done to wash up, sneak some pieces of bread in there to soak up the delicious broth, or to touch your toes for a few minutes.
8. When the time is up, remove the pepper, tomato, and bay leaf and toss them or reuse them for something else. You’re ready to eat! ¡Que aproveche!
Food is the most wonderful medium for acts of creativity. Those who admire your final creation have a much easier time appreciating all the effort and success embodied in it. I imagine the first edible drawings will be equally satisfying but until then, you can find me in the kitchen!