What is it about writing that makes me hungry for beans and rice? Some of my favorite meals at a writing colony this past summer involved beans and rice. Maybe it’s the protein, maybe it’s the simplicity of one meal in a pot. Maybe it’s the idea of being able to spoon food into my mouth with one hand, while typing on the other–oh, if it were only true that I do get on such writing streaks that I cannot stop to pause even to eat! But, if that were to happen, I couldn’t do that with steak.
So when my friend offered to make a lentil soup during a weekend writing retreat, I happily consented. We were up in the mountains, with the temperatures falling below freezing point at night–the idea of lentil soup seemed so fitting. Autumn hits the Sierras first, and I’m looking forward to many more soup nights over the next months when Autumn arrives in the Bay Area too! Oh, and hopefully lots more productive writing weekends dedicated to my fiction.
I have her permission to type up her recipe for a Greek-style lentil rice soup here. I say Greek-STYLE because we missed a couple of the ingredients that would make it more authentic. Namely, we were missing a splash of vinegar that normally would brighten this dish and add a tanginess that according to my (Greek) friend would make it wholly Greek.
1 Tblsp olive oil
1 cup lentils
1 cup rice (we used sticky rice because that is what we had, but basmati is preferred)
1 cup finely chopped onion
at least 5 cloves minced garlic
2-3 cups water (or enough to cover the lentils)
2-3 cups chicken broth (orrrr use 5-6 cups water plus a splash of vinegar instead of chicken broth)
1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tstp cayenne pepper, 4 bay leaves, salt, and pepper to taste
optional: celery (we just didnt have any on hand)
optional: chopped greens like kale.
Saute onions until translucent in olive oil in large sauce pan or dutch oven or stockpot. Add lentils and garlic. Add water and rice and bring to a boil, while stirring. (water should cover lentils and rice by about an inch or so). If you are using celery, add celery at this time, too.
After the lentils have come to a boil, lower heat to simmer and add spices and salt. Simmer for 20 minutes or until lentils are softened and rice is cooked through.
Optional: add chopped greens.