I didn’t have much time to blog this weekend, but I did spend an hour or two adding a new category to the blog’s recipe index: Readers’ Favorites. I looked back over the comments for every recipe posted since this blog began back in January and took into consideration emails that I’ve gotten from you readers in order to compile a list of your favorite recipes. I’m sure I missed some, so if you don’t see a recipe that you’ve tried and liked on the list, be sure to leave me a comment. The best place to comment is on the recipe itself, so that others considering making it can read your review. Just use the handy search box in the sidebar to locate the original post. I’ll try to update the favorites page as time allows.
Speaking of time, does anyone have any extra that they can lend me? And can anyone explain to me why everything has to happen in December? School performances, piano recitals, field trips, parties…it just doesn’t stop! Not until January, that is, when nothing happens and we’re all glad to have a break. In honor of everyone’s lack of time this month, I’m presenting you with this holiday gift: A delicious “meal in a bowl” soup that takes about 20 minutes to cook in the pressure cooker. Don’t have a pressure cooker? Well, I can’t present you with that, though I will include instructions for making this hearty, stew-like soup in a regular pot.
Italian Lentil and Vegetable Soup
7 cups water (you can make this cook faster by using hot water)
1 1/2 cups regular (brown) lentils, picked over and rinsed
1 large onion, chopped
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
2 cups chopped cabbage
2 cups Italian green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces (may use frozen)
2 ribs celery, sliced
2 medium red potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 carrots, thickly sliced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 14-ounce cans diced tomatoes
1/4 cup (packed) chopped basil (or 2 teaspoons dried)*
salt to taste
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
parsley for garnish (optional)
Put all of the first set of ingredients, water through black pepper, into the pressure cooker. Bring to high pressure and cook for 7 minutes. Remove from heat and reduce pressure with a quick release method.
Add the remaining ingredients, except for the vinegar and parsley, and simmer for at least 10 minutes. Just before serving, add the balsamic vinegar. Serve garnished with parsley, if you like. Makes about 8 servings.
To cook without a pressure cooker: Put all of the first set of ingredients, water through black pepper, into a large soup pot. Cook, covered, for about 35-45 minutes, until lentils and potatoes are tender. Add water as needed during cooking to keep soup from becoming dry. Add the tomatoes, basil, and salt and cook for at least 10 more minutes. Just before serving, add the balsamic vinegar and serve, garnished with parsley (optional).
*Note: I used some of the basil that I froze this summer to give the soup the taste of fresh basil. If you froze your basil in ice cube trays, use about 3 basil cubes–or more to taste.