In the spirit of full disclosure I will add that the above listed sins gained me a grand total of one pound. Not bad for a week's worth of indulgence. And, frankly, that pound concerns me not at all. A good work-out today will take care of it and one "off" week does not negate the other 29 pounds I've lost.
Confession is good for the soul, or so they tell me, and so is soup ... this much I know is true. For my penance I prepared a healthy, Beachy, lentil soup on Wednesday night and it was spectacular. Given the multitude of white carb sins over the past few days, I opted to use some pearl barley in place of pasta and I'm delighted with the results. Barley is rich in Manganese, Selenium, Phosphorus, Copper, Iron, Zinc, Vitamin B6, Thiamin, Niacin, Riboflavin, Folate and Potassium. Its also a good source of both fiber and protein. And, you can't beat the texture - barley's chewy bite is the perfect compliment to the soup-softened lentils. What a lovely combination!
Now, on to the recipe. This one is of the "pinch and dash" variety; meaning I don't measure any of the seasonings. I open my massive spice cabinet and start adding anything and everything that sounds good to me. Sometimes its a pinch of cinnamon to give the soup some Middle Eastern flair; other times I'll add a dash of curry powder or a pinch of celery salt and some cayenne pepper. Sometimes all of the above. I'll post the recipe and note for the record that you should feel free to season the soup as you like. Pinch and dash to your heart's content and you'll be rewarded with a savory, flavorful bowl of repentance!
Lentil and Barley Soup:
- 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 large carrots, diced
- 2 large ribs of celery, diced
- 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
- one 14.5 oz. can of Petite Diced Tomatoes
- 1 1/4 cups of small, green French Lentils, rinsed and drained
- 5 cups of reduced sodium vegetable broth
- 5 cups of non-fat, low-sodium chicken broth
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- the leaves from 5 or 6 sprigs of fresh thyme
- a pinch of ground cinnamon
- a healthy dash of good quality curry powder
- a shake of celery salt
- a handful of chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tsp. red wine vinegar
- 3/4 cup of pearl barley, cooked according to package directions, drained and reserved
- some chopped fresh parsley and some grated Parmesan cheese for garnish
Meanwhile, cook the barley according to package directions, drain and reserve.
Test the soup after 20 minutes of simmering to be sure that the lentils have cooked. Add in the red wine vinegar and stir to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning - adding more salt and pepper, or any of the above listed spices, as desired.
To serve: place some cooked barley in the bottom of a soup bowl and ladle the finished soup onto the barley. Garnish with some chopped parsley and grated Parmesan cheese, serve and enjoy!
As written, this recipe will serve an army - or several generations of your family at a minimum. Make the soup, eat some, save some for lunch the next day, then freeze the rest for later use. You can add the remaining cooked barley to the cooled soup as desired before you freeze. Lastly, feel free make this soup vegetarian by using 10 cups of vegetable broth and omitting the chicken. I happen to like the combination of the two, but your mileage may vary, of course.
My repentance is now complete and I'm looking forward to my lunch of left-over soup today. I'm back in business and back on The Beach! Stay tuned for a post on knife-sharpening tips, courtesy of Papa Diva, next week - as well as some holiday tips for Thanksgiving. We've got a lot of catching up to do here!