lentil soup & roasted chestnuts
Every job no matter how exciting, has a dull repetitive aspect that can be unavoidable. Some stack dominoes for months on end in order to experience less than a minute of amazingness. Others lay a thousand bricks before they see a building come to life.
We (the recipients) are all very grateful they went through the motions when we see the end result and we thank them.
In cooking, it's the hours of prep, and the most fundamental is chopping. It's cool to wield a super sharp blade for a short while & pretend you're a ninja, but after onion number 53 has been peeled & diced, your mind has switched off and your hands move on auto-pilot. This is where accidents happen & fingertips go missing....
Other tedious activities include peeling cherry tomatoes and gutting slimy calamari.
Personally, I love chopping carrots really finely because they have that clean crisp cut that you can work with a lot of speed. Keep me away from the garlic cloves however. There's something so sticky about garlic that you end up with the skins glued to you.
Today's task is cleaning those stubborn chestnuts, and in particular, peeling off the fuzzy second layer that is not pleasant to eat. I haven't got a good tip to give you here other than a lot of patience goes a long way. It seems that there are some varieties out there where that fuzz just peels right off but, I can't recognise them easily. Apart from that I have a straight forward lentil soup that will keep you warm, full and healthy during cold winter days.
Ingredients: - 2 onions diced finely - 2 carrots diced finely - 1 fennel bulb cut finely - 2 garlic cloves crushed and cut finely - 2 tomatoes diced finely - 500 gr lentils (not the orange kind) - 2 bay leafs - few thyme springs - 3 tbs cider vinegar - 400 gr chestnuts - 5 tbs olive oil - salt pepper
Directions: 1. Score the chestnuts on both sides and place in a baking tray. Bake at 220C for about 40 minutes depending on size. Every 10 minutes shake the around a bit and when done allow to cool slightly before peeling. Be warned removing the fuzzy second layer is a pain and need patience but every now and then you get some that peel right off and its a pleasant surprise. 2. Sautee all vegetables except the tomatoes in 5 tbs olive oil on high heat for about 5 minutes stirring often. Add the tomatoes and cook for 1 minute then add vinegar, thyme, bay leaf, water and lentils. The quantity of water depends a lot on the lentils so add around a litre and a half to start with and add more if needed. Stir once and bring to a boil then reduce to a slow simmer. You want the end result to be firm lentils but with no crunch in them at all and the liquid to be nice and thick, and check for seasoning. 3. Crush half of the chestnuts in pieces and add to the soup at the end of the cooking process and keep the rest to place on top before serving. 4. Adding fresh olive oil and vinegar before serving work very nice in this winter comfort soup.
By the way...
If you're interested in the type of stuff I keep stocked in my kitchen or the equipment that I use regularly... here's a pretty comprehensive list.
Tools/ Equipment/ Machinery/ Ingredients:
Electric Scale - Etekcity - http://amzn.to/2xkKpQk
Hand Mixer - Kenwood - http://amzn.to/2xkjowh
Stand Mixer - Kenwood - http://amzn.to/2yqXPiH
Candy Thermometer - Etekcity - http://amzn.to/2xklw7k
Food Processor - Cuisinart - http://amzn.to/2xkkZqK
Blender - Kenwood - http://amzn.to/2xXQgwU
Silicone Spatula - Zyliss - http://amzn.to/2y3Srkw
Chef's Knife 8" - Miyabi - http://amzn.to/2fUtyRK
Pots & Pans:
Cast Iron Grill Skillet 10.5" - Lodge - http://amzn.to/2z2GPwi
Cake tins & Pie Plates:
Bunt Pan - Nordic Ware - http://amzn.to/2xjGB1N
Square Cake Tin - Patisse - http://amzn.to/2xkn5Ce
Springform cake tin 22cm (9”) - Farberware - http://amzn.to/2xkdQ4T
Ceramic Pie Plate- Emile Henry - http://amzn.to/2gex5qR
Cupcake Tin - Wilton - http://amzn.to/2xkp4GG
Tart Tin Loose Bottom 9.5” - Patisse - http://amzn.to/2xje3u2
Non-Slip Pipping Bags - Pastry Gear - http://amzn.to/2fLxAZ0
Pipping Tips - Wilton - http://amzn.to/2yJVPy1
Food Gels - Wilton - http://amzn.to/2kpOCky
Fondant Smoother - Wilton - http://amzn.to/2xkyZRl
Fondant Rolling Mat - The Mat - http://amzn.to/2y2bg76
Active Dry Yeast - Bob's Red Mill - http://amzn.to/2gcC2R4
Almond Flour - Bob's Red Mill - http://amzn.to/2xkP3xI
Arrow root - Bob’s Red Mill - http://amzn.to/2ycT0WF
Baking Powder - Bob's Red Mill - http://amzn.to/2xkJz5U
Bicarbonate of Soda - Bob's Red Mill - http://amzn.to/2yL7Lj4
Brown Rice Flour - Bob's Red Mill - http://amzn.to/2z1MUt1
Buckwheat Flour - Anthony’s Organic - http://amzn.to/2xjRS6T
Flaxseed Meel - Bob's Red Mill - http://amzn.to/2ybK0Rm
Millet flour - Bob’s Red Mill - http://amzn.to/2iBZqYw
Oat Flour - Bob's Red Mill - http://amzn.to/2fNUuyZ
Potato Starch - Bob's Red Mill - http://amzn.to/2yKpYgH
Tapioca Starch - Bob's Red Mill - http://amzn.to/2xjv879
Vanilla Extract Organic - Simply Organic - http://amzn.to/2xXdt2e
Vanilla Beans - Vanilla Products - http://amzn.to/2yLMqWQ
White Flour GF - Dove's Farm - http://amzn.to/2z1b5I1
Xanthan Gum - Bob's Red Mill - http://amzn.to/2zoYxuC
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