Lentils are a wonderful source of nut or legume protein, third highest in the world after soybeans and hemp. Not a complete protein, they lack two amino acids, but this can be rectified if sprouted lentils are used. They have been eaten since the Neolithic age, and are popular in the Near East where there are large numbers of vegetarians. They come in a variety or colors: red, yellow, green and black. Sizes and cooking times also vary, but lentils are amazingly easy to prepare.
My secret to making lentils is to boil them in water and El Pato Sauce. They absorb the spiciness perfectly. Once boiled, they become the basis for this hearty and warming slightly spicy soup which incorporates yucca, namé, mushrooms, carrots, okra and more. The best thing about putting these vegetables together is that many of them have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body, and that’s a good thing when the weather turns chilly and joints become a bit grumbly.
Since there are so many types of lentils available, I am not going to specify which to use. Choose your favorite and follow the directions on the package to boil them (but add that El Pato!) before using them as the base for soup. As with any soup recipe, feel free to add your own creative touches.
2 cups dry lentils
1 can El Pato Sauce
1 32 oz. box vegetable broth (with no gluten or MSG added)
1 yucca root, peeled and sliced
1 namé root (optional)
2 carrots, sliced into rounds
12 ozs. okra (fresh or frozen) cut into pieces
1 brown or sweet onion, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
1 cup sliced mushrooms (use your favorite variety)
5 cloves garlic, whole
1 bay leaf
2 tsp. oregano (Mexican or Mediterranean)
2 tsp. basil
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. fennel seed
salt and pepper to taste
1. Sort and remove any broken or discolored lentils. Boil them according to directions on the package in a medium pot, adding 1 can El Pato Sauce to the water. Lentils may take anywhere from 10 minutes to a half hour to boil.
2. Transfer the lentils and liquid to a large stock pot or crock pot. Add the vegetable stock, vegetables and spices.
3. Cook on low for 1 hour or longer, until all of the vegetables are tender.
4. Cool for 15 minutes before serving in order to give the flavors a chance to settle. Enjoy!