It’s no secret to anyone paying attention that my household is solidly a soup household. We don’t object to soup and there’s no such thing as too many days with soup on the menu, which is a good thing since the weather has already dipped into the negatives over the past few days.
The negatives y’all. Despite living in Europe for a few years now, my skin is squarely stuck in Los Angeles, trembling terribly under this ice cold weather. But the only thing good about this kind of cold is that nothing feels better after being out in the cold than piping hot soup. And I do mean piping hot. It’s a constant debate in our house because He likes it warm enough to enjoy but not burn his mouth and if it isn’t still steaming in my bowl, I’m not interested.
But this was no day for a light little vegetable soup so I decided to make a stew and I knew I wanted to add lentils so we have potato and lentil stew, which isn’t quite as simple as it sounds flavor-wise, but it’s pretty easy to make.
This recipe was based on a non-vegan recipe I came across in line at the supermarket in Austria though I’m sure I left out a few key ingredients aside from heavy cream and beef broth. I’m totally okay with that!
Making this soup is easy but it does require some prep which is often my weakness. I tend to chop the stuff I need first and then turn on the fire which means I’m always rushing to chop-dice-slice everything else before anything burns. But this time I actually remembered to remind myself to do all the prep first and it made all the difference.
What you’ll need: 6 potatoes, 1 fennel bulb, 1 parsnip, 2 leeks (just the white part), 10 garlic cloves, 1 cup yellow lentils, 1 brown beer, vegetable stock, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, salt & pepper, basil, marjoram.
Get the lentils started cooking so everything comes together at the same time.
I used a splash of olive oil (cold pressed, extra virgin) to get a little bit of char on the first four ingredients and then I added the garlic and cooked for another 8 or so minutes before adding broth. Let the mixture cook until it’s soft and let cool so you can get a stick blender and make it nice and creamy.
Use the blender to get the potato-fennel mixture nice and soft and creamy. It tastes like there’s butter and cream in it, but there isn’t. It’s just the power of the potato. Now that you’ve got perfect smoothness, add the beer a 1/2 cup at a time plus the seasonings until you’re satisfied. Turn the heat back on until it’s hot and you’re ready to grub!
To serve, just add about a serving spoon of lentils right in the center.
No stew meal is complete without salad and thick, herby, buttery bread.
Fair warning; this recipe makes about 8 normal sized bowls of soup so be prepared to pig out or have leftovers for tomorrow!
Too bad I didn’t remember to get a photo of the beer but it was a dark hefe from Paulaner. Brown beer works best to me because I’m not a fan of IPA and blond beers aren’t my favorite. If you try a different beer, let me know how it turns out.
And don’t be shy about photos!