Lentil Soup and Popovers
Some lentil soups are thick, almost like a stew. Last night I made one that is not thick. It’s thin, “soupy”, and, as Mark Bittman calls it, classic. It’s from his How to Cook Everything Vegetarian book. You can make the soup with any kind of broth that you like, or even just water. I really like the “earthy” flavor that Pacific Mushroom Broth gives to the soup.
I paired the soup with popovers from Judith Jones’ The Pleasures of Cooking for One. It’s a charming and inspiring book for people who are cooking just for themselves or for two. I was most excited about her recipe for popovers! I rarely make popovers because I had thought of them as something you make to go with a big roast for a lot of people. It never occurred to me that you could make just 2 popovers.
The popovers baked beautifully, but I had a learning experience about buttering the Pyrex dishes. Be sure to butter them well! After I buttered mine, I noticed that one of them looked like it had a bit less butter than the other. And, sure enough, one of the popovers was difficult to remove from the dish. Lesson learned.
This morning I wish I had doubled the recipe to make 4 popovers. I’d love one with butter and jam this morning. (Judith suggests wrapping leftovers in paper, not plastic wrap, and leaving them at room temperature to avoid sogginess.)
Classic Lentil Soup
(Adapted from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian)
1 cup lentils, washed and picked over
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 large, or 2 smaller carrots, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 32-oz. carton Pacific Mushroom Broth
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Put the lentils, bay leaf, thyme, carrots, celery, broth, water, salt and pepper in a pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat so it’s simmering and cover with a lid. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender. It takes 30 – 40 minutes.
(About 30 minutes before the soup is done, start the popovers (recipe below) and get them in the oven. They take 25 – 30 minutes to bake. After the popovers are in the oven, continue with the onions and garlic for the soup.)
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a pan. Add the onions and cook over medium-low heat until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat.
When the lentils are soft, Add the onion/garlic mixture to the soup. Remove the bay leaf and taste to see if it needs more salt.
(Adapted from Judith Jones’ The Pleasure of Cooking for One)
Makes 2 (Easily doubled or tripled)
1 large egg
1/3 cup milk
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup flour
Soft butter, for the custard cups*
Preheat the oven to 400˚. Beat the egg; add the milk, flour and salt and beat well. Butter 2 Pyrex custard cups (2 inches high, 3 1/2 inches in diameter). Be sure to butter them well! Pour the batter in the cups, and put them on a baking sheet on the middle rack in the oven. Bake for 25 minutes.
Remove from the oven, and remove them from the custard cups. (Now you will be really glad if you buttered them well!) Prick them all over with the tip of a sharp knife to let the steam escape.
Yum! I will definitely be making these again.
*If you have a popover pan (I don’t), you certainly could use that. You can also use a regular muffin pan. In that case, you might have to make 3 smaller popovers.