What would you do if you found yourself faced with a few vegetable odds and ends, a half-filled mason jar of beans or legumes, and leftover canned chipotle chiles? For many people, this is often a major kitchen quandry. Are these items worth saving, or do we call them food waste? If you find yourself up for the challenge of cooking rather than composting I applaud you!
My answer for this conundrum usually always ends up being soup or stew, especially as the weather turns cooler. Earlier this week I was faced with a few collard green leaves from my CSA, lentils sitting quietly in my cabinet, a quarter container of chicken stock leftover from making risotto, canned pumpkin because it’s fall, and a half can of chipotle chiles which were used for an enchilada bake.
I had no other plans for packed lunches this week, so a spicy lentil soup, which actually thickened up into a semi-stew, hence the newly created term “stoup”, was put on the menu. With the help of a few other staple items lying around, I was able to transform a few mundane ingredients into a complete, and mighty delicious, meal!
What other meals do you like to create with leftover bits and pantry items?
Spicy Autumn Lentil “SToup”- makes 2 servings
- 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 medium carrot, diced
- 3/4 cup brown lentils
- 1 medium sweet potato, cut into small cubes
- 1 cup low sodium chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 can of pumpkin puree
- 1 chipotle chile from canned adobos, minced, and 2 tsp chipotle sauce
- 5 collard green leaves, roughly chopped or sliced into ribbons
- 3 tbsp creme fraiche
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- In a large pot, set on medium heat, add olive oil, onions, and carrots. Cook for 4-5 minutes until ingredients start to soften. Then, add lentils and toast for about 1 minute.
- Toss sweet potatoes and chipotles into the pot, then cover with stock and water. If the liquid doesn’t cover your mixture almost completely, add more water or stock, whichever you have more of on hand. Cover and let simmer.
- Simmer soup for 15-20 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are softened and the lentils are cooked through. Towards the end of the cooking process, add in the pumpkin puree and collards. The goal is to just barely cook the greens, preserving the bright green color. The puree should add the thick stew dimension to the pot.
- After adding in the collards, turn off the heat and allow soup to cool. One slightly cooled, swirl in creme fraiche. Serve right away or pack as two lunch options for the week.