It’s Advent and time for hot soup in colder climes, but soup benefits us, truly, any time, anywhere. The first Sunday of Advent seemed prime to assess the hermitage vegetables: red onions, baby bella mushrooms, celery, Brussels sprouts, carrots, red and green peppers, and tomatoes–these latter, end of garden surplus.
I started with two red onions: barely remove outer peel, then slice. Why red onions over yellow? Heath! Red onions contain a higher amount of flavanoids which reduce risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Plus, red onions contain high levels of quercitin, a flavanoid that keeps the mind sharp. The highest concentrations are in the outer layers, thus do not peel much.
I sauteed the two red onions, 3 large cloves of garlic and a slice of grilled red pepper from a jar purchased on clearance; I used some of the olive oil from the grilled pepper jar as the sauté base. Then adding the sliced carrots, chopped red and green peppers, celery, tomatoes and Brussels sprouts, the soup was well on its way.
A pint of vegetable broth, found on clearance at Big Lots (can be purchased anywhere), along with a cup of pureed tomatoes that I’d frozen fresh-blended from the gardens, as well as 3 cups of water, gave this soup the liquid necessary for the simmering process. I happened to be sipping a glass of Joyful Hermit Rosa Mystica Liqueur from last season, so I tossed in a liqueur glassful along with 5 dashes of Angostura Bitters [see post on Bittersweet]. All is well with the soup; wait as it simmers on low heat. As seasoning, I added a teaspoon each of turmeric, garam masala, and fenugreek–typical Indian cooking spices. You may wish to experiment to suit your imaginative tastes.
Just before the vegetables become tender, add a cup of red lentils. Simmer another 10-15 minutes and add 7 chopped baby bella mushroons and a teaspoon crushed in the hand of Joyful Hermit Culinary Herbals–or any of your favorite herbs. It is best to crush these dried herbs and adding toward the end of the cooking process as the flavor remains best. It is all in the waiting.
Advent Soup Serves 8-10 2 red onions, sliced 3 cloves chopped garlic 2 Tbs. olive or other sauté oil 3 large carrots, sliced 1/2 lb. Brussels sprouts 1 red, green pepper, sliced 2 stalks chopped celery 4-5 chopped tomatoes (or 1 can) 1 pint (2 cups) vegetable broth plus 3-4 cups water 7 baby bella mushrooms, sliced 5 dashes Angostura Bitters 1 shot glass of liqueur, if desired 1 tsp. each: turmeric, garam masala, fenugreek 1 cup red lentils 1 tsp. Joyful Hermit Culinary Herbals, crushed salt and pepper, to taste
Note the fabric napkin in Advent tones. Eight 8-inch napkins and a table runner were sewn from $2 per yard fabric found on sale. They have been used each Advent for years and have far out-priced any paper napkins used in all that time, plus add depth, texture.