30 November 2010

Just the ticket for a snowy evening

Vegetable-Lentil Soup with Fragrant Broth

2 tbsns olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 onion, chopped
1 tbsn minced garlic (i put in more because I used water rather than broth)
Salt and black pepper
2 cups chopped tomatoes (canned are fine; include the juice)
3 carrots, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1/2 cup dried lentils, rinsed and picked over (I used split peas with great results)
6 cups vegetable stock or water
Several sprigs fresh thyme or several pinches dried

1. Put the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When it's hot, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, sprinkling with salt and pepper. Turn the heat down to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are golden and beginning to melt together, about 20 minutes.
2. Turn the heat back up to medium-high and stir in the tomatoes, carrots, celery, and lentils. Add the stock and thyme, then bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium-low so that the soup bubbles gently.
3. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the lentils and vegetables are tender, 20 - 30 minutes; add water as necessary to keep the mixture brothy. Fish out the thyme sprigs, then taste and adjust the seasoning.
Serve each bowl of soup with a drizzle of olive oil on top.

Whole Wheat Bread with Pumpkin

3 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 teaspoons salt
pinch of nutmeg (optional)
1 cup puréed cooked pumpkin, butternut, or other winter squash (canned is fine)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1. Combine the flour, yeast, salt, and nutmeg if you're using it in a large bowl. Add the pumpkin and about 1/2 cup of water and stir until blended; the dough should be quite wet, almost like a batter (add more water if it seems dry). Cover the bowl with a teatowel and let it rest in a warm place for about 2 hours. The dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Rising time will be shorter at warmer temperatures, a bit longer if your kitchen is chilly.
2. Use some of the oil to grease a 9 x 5 pan. Scoop the dough into the loaf pan and use a rubber spatula to gently settle it in evenly. Brush or drizzle the top with the remaining oil. Cover with a towel and let rise until almost doubled. an hour or 2 depending on the warmth of your kitchen. When it's almost ready, preheat the oven to 350.
3. Bake the bread until deeply golden and hollow-sounding when tapped, about 45 minutes.