Growing tired of frozen, packaged, and carryout food, I spent the weekend in the kitchen of a family member, stocking up my freezer with soups, stews and other refreshingly homemade meals. I got the idea for this soup from the Washington Post food section, and I think it turned out quite well!
Soup in any form is just such a soothing and healing meal; I crave it even during this unseasonably spring-like weather. I pumped up this soup with more ingredients and some protein in the form of lentils to make it a heartier meal, but you can’t really go wrong with a base of garlic+broccoli.
4 heads broccoli (about 1.5 pounds)
6-7 cloves garlic
2 leeks (or one medium onion)
1 medium-large carrot
2 stalks celery
1/2 cup green lentils or split peas
12 cups water
Finely chop all veggies. Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a large stock pot over medium-low heat.
Add the garlic, reserving about a tablespoon, and saute for 1-2 minutes, stirring so as not to burn. Add a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper and a few sprinkles of Italian seasoning of choice. Add the leeks and saute until tender and translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add the carrots and celery and cook for another couple minutes to take the edge off. Add the remaining garlic. Deglaze with a splash of vinegar.
Cover in about 12 cups of water, add the lentils and let simmer for at least an hour, until the water has reduced some and a flavorful broth has been created. Chop the broccoli into bite-size chunks and add to the pot. Cook until soft and then take an immersion blender to the soup to coarsely chop up the soup a little more. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a regular blender or food processor, or just simply chop up the veggies more finely beforehand.
In the meantime, cook your pasta or other grain (rice would also be good). I like to keep them separate and add the pasta as I dish each bowl out so the broth is not absorbed.
Allow to cook for another 30-60 minutes, tasting occasionally. If it tastes too bland, you probably need more salt and/or more time. Don’t be afraid.
While this dish lacks the complex flavor of some soups, its simplicity is its strength. There is not too much chopping or prep involved, and you can get other chores done while it simmers — a great dish to make and freeze for later!
And I am so happy to finally have a home-cooked meal 🙂