We’re preparing to hunker down and hibernate for winter here in Beijing, so we thought it was time for a delicious, hearty winter soup. A twist on Italian wedding/lentil soup, this creation kicks with flavor and sticks to your bones to boot, so as the temperatures drop and we barricade ourselves inside for the next four months, we hope you’ll enjoy this soup as much as we did.
As with most of our dishes, you can throw in whatever veggies you have lying around. On this day, we happened to have celery, carrots, (a mildly hot) red pepper, lentils and cauliflower. We wanted potatoes or something starchy to anchor this soup, but we were out of potatoes so we decided the cauliflower would be a nice substitute. That is, until about halfway through the prep I went sniffing around the refrigerator to discover some cooked, undressed, rotini pasta noodles that I had made and not used all of earlier in the week. So naturally, in they went.
To start, throw the chopped celery, carrots, and red pepper into your soup pot with a half a tablespoon of oil to begin to saute. After about 3 to 5 minutes, add 4 cups of water (our soup pot is small — until tonight when we go to Ikea!!) with 1.5-2 tablespoons of instant veggie stock mix (or 1 veggie bullion cube). Then throw in one tablespoon ground black pepper, salt to taste, two to three tablespoons of tomato paste, two table spoons of ground garlic powder and a sprinkle of thyme. Then add one can of cooked lentils and your cauliflower.
This soup is so savory and filling, it needs no garnish. Just a big spoon. So sit down by the fireplace (or room of candles since we have no fireplace), turn on your favorite movie, and enjoy!