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Before making this soup, I had never had lentils before. I had heard of them and knew what they were, but I had no idea how to cook them or what they tasted like or anything like that. I was curious about them, but Geordie had no interest in them. He’d had them before and had not been overly impressed with them.

So, when this soup was voted in for March, we had mixed reactions: I was eager to try something new, while Geordie was decidedly unexcited by the prospect. He agreed to try it though, which is one of the reasons I love him so much. Food-wise, there are only a few things he balks at. In truth, he’s less picky than I am, and he’s far more willing to try things that other people have cooked. Me, not so much. One of the reasons I got interested in cooking was so I could control what went into my food. I can avoid foods I don’t like and feel more confident about new foods because I handled and worked with them myself. If someone else had made this bowl of lentil soup and set it before me, I’d have been more reluctant about trying it. Simply knowing what’s going into a dish – even if I’m not sure if I’m going to like unfamiliar ingredients or combinations – makes it that much more approachable for me.

It helps that this is a pretty simple soup to make. Because of the lentils, it takes quite a bit of cooking time, but it doesn’t take a lot of effort. This is one of the reasons I love making soup: big payoff for a small amount of effort. Also, not as much cleaning. Just the Dutch oven. Nice.

The ingredients are few but promise so much in the way of flavor. It’s the addition of orange and ginger that make this soup so promising.

Simply made: carrots, chicken broth, French green lentils, and the seasoning assortment (orange peel, ginger, coriander seeds, and black peppercorns).

Simply made: carrots, chicken broth, French green lentils, and the seasoning assortment (orange peel, ginger, coriander seeds, and black peppercorns).

The carrots were sauteed a bit in some oil before everything else was added in. After this, everything just simmers for a while, until the lentils are soft.

The carrots were sauteed a bit in some oil before everything else was added in. After this, everything just simmers for a while, until the lentils are soft.

Although some of the other Doristas opted not to puree the soup, I did (as per the instructions). I like a smooth, creamy soup. Broth soups are okay, but they don’t rank among my favorites (except for Aunt Lynnie’s caldo verde, that’s an exception). It pureed magnificently, and it smelled terrific – the orange and the ginger were both clearly present. It made me wish it was a little colder outside – this would have been such a great soup for a cool, late-winter day.

[We’ve had temps in the 80’s this week. Spring seems to be settling in early. I don’t have a problem with this.]

Geordie cooked up some bacon to crumble over the soup. That and a healthy dollop of Greek yogurt was all the garnish this soup needed. And, of course, some homemade bread, but that’s a given in this house.

Orange-scented Lentil Soup, with a garnish of Greek yogurt and bacon.

Orange-scented Lentil Soup, with a garnish of Greek yogurt and bacon.

This surprised us both. I had no expectations whatsoever about this soup, and Geordie went into wondering what leftovers were available in the fridge (not that he said that out loud, but I’m pretty sure he was thinking it!). I enjoyed it from the first bite. The orange flavor is definitely there, and though I wouldn’t have minded a little bit more of it, it really brightened up the soup. The Greek yogurt added a nice tanginess, a lovely contrast to the deepness of the lentil flavor. The bacon gave it a delightful crunch. This was a hearty, filling soup, but it didn’t leave you feeling weighed down. I can understand why Dorie says that it’s a comfort food from childhood for the French. It seems to embrace the essence of winter, while at the same time wrapping its warmth around you, soothing away the dreariness of the season. It’s a soup that would make anybody feel right at home.

I have no complaints about this soup, and I’m certain I’ll be making it again at the end of this year. Geordie thought it was great and not only ate his entire bowl but also went back for seconds. He probably would have liked some ham with it, but he’s been saying that about nearly everything lately – I think he’s just getting anxious about Easter! At least this made him more open to trying other lentil dishes, because I have plenty leftover! I’m eager to see what else I can do with them.

Very much a success in this house! To see how the other Doristas enjoyed this warm, comforting soup, check out the French Friday links. Happy cooking!


I’m not a big fan of peas. I like snow peas, and that’s about it. There are too many other interesting vegetables out there to eat peas.

So, when the cheating-on-winter pea soup was chosen as the last recipe for February, I wasn’t thrilled. But I’ve been trying a lot of other new stuff since joining this little cooking club, so why balk now? I was just going to bite the bullet, use the frozen peas, and see what happened.

Then, reading through the FFwD’s P’s & Q’s thread, one of Doristas (the ever-awesome Mardi) mentioned in passing that she’d used edamame instead. And I thought, Okay, that sounds way better! And I resolved then and there to use edamame too. We love edamame in this house. If you live in Japan for any amount of time, and you don’t develop a taste for edamame, there may be something wrong with you. I miss the fresh stuff. But frozen will do in a pinch.

This is a pretty simply soup. I’ve noticed that many of Dorie’s soup recipes are pretty simple, so I didn’t worry so much about the prep/cook time on this. I also got to try out my new stainless steel saucepans! Yay!

Frozen edamame, romaine lettuce, and vegetable stock. That's it. (Plus an onion, but obviously, that was a no-go.)

Frozen edamame, romaine lettuce, and vegetable stock. That’s it. (Plus an onion, but obviously, that was a no-go.)

It all gets thrown in a pot and simmered for about ten minutes. That's all the cooking it needs!

It all gets thrown in a pot and simmered for about ten minutes. That’s all the cooking it needs!

And then things got a little complicated. I decided to use a blender to puree the soup (again, the experience of the Doristas came in handy, as one of them had her immersion blender blow-out on her because of the lettuce). Then I strained it to get a more pleasing texture. The soup still came out kinda lumpy, but by that time, it was nearly 8pm, about an hour past our regular dinner-time. Now I know why I like my immersion blender so much – zip it through everything, and you’re done. None of this blending in batches and straining it stuff. This situation just happened to be an exception. I suppose I would have preferred to take all that time over nearly electrocuting myself with my immersion blender.

Upon reading this recipe the first time, the soup didn’t strike me as particularly hearty or filling. So I decided to serve it with little half sandwiches: Black Forest ham, Havarti cheese, and (for me) a dab of fig jam on homemade bread. While I heated the edamame soup back up on the stove, I stuck the sandwiches under the broiler to heat them up and melt the cheese. The soup was ladled into some glass cups, and to finish it off, I put a dollop of Greek yogurt on top.

Edamame soup with ham & cheese open-faced sandwiches.

Edamame soup with ham & cheese open-faced sandwiches.

Without the sandwiches, this wouldn’t have been all that great of a meal. The idea of the soup was interesting, but I’m not sure the result met the expectation. By itself, the soup would have been really boring. The sandwiches actually improved it some, gave it a nice salty-sweet foil to all its greenery. It probably wasn’t as “springy” as it would have been with the peas, but maybe that was for the best. I could really taste the edamame, and that made it totally worthwhile. It was very mellow soup, and even though it wasn’t perfectly smooth, it was still pleasing to eat.

Even so, it’s definitely not the best soup I’ve ever had, nor is it one I would want to make again. It made for a good component of a meal, but it’s not great enough to warrant a repeat performance. An interesting idea that lost something in the execution. But it was nice to try, and it did go really well with the sandwiches. We wouldn’t have wanted the sandwiches by themselves, but with the soup, they were a good pairing.

So: decent, but probably not going to be a repeat. Can’t complain about that!

This was a well-received soup among the Doristas. To see their lovely spring-green soups, check out the links. Happy cooking!

Before I married Geordie, I’d never heard of caldo verde, which is a soup popular in Portuguese cuisines. It’s often eaten at celebrations, but for us, it’s a winter standard, and one I love to make.


One of the first people I met from Geordie’s extended family was his Aunt Lynne. By an interesting coincidence, she and her family lived in St. Augustine, where I had gone to college and lived for a good seven years. It’s where my BFF still lives. So, naturally, after we had arrived back in the States, we made plans to go to St. Augustine and visit.

Aunt Lynne works for a catering business, and she is quite the excellent (self-taught) cook. She makes delicious food, and she’s so terrifically awesome that she always made a point to make something fabulous to eat when we came to visit. The first time I met her, we went to the catering office, where she was toiling away over a big pot of soup. After a very emotional (and adorable) reunion between her and Geordie, she told us that she hoped we’d want something to eat, because she was making Portuguese kale soup.

Geordie’s eyes fairly lit up. “Oh, boy!” he said. Aunt Lynne sat us down at a picnic table outside the building and brought us two Styrofoam bowls of steaming hot soup. It was overflowing with veggies, beans, and sausage. I took one look at it and thought, um.

You see, I prefer creamy soups. I always have. I’ve always been shy of big bowls of soup with large pieces of vegetables looking at me. This is how you get when you don’t like onion and celery in your soup, since quite a lot of chunky soups are built upon their base. But Geordie was shoveling the soup into his mouth as quickly as he could, and nobody could hate onions more than the man I married. So, to be polite, I took a teensy bite.

Of course I liked it. It’s a very tasty soup. It’s a very hearty, very filling soup – perfect comfort food for a winter’s day. I liked it well enough that I told Geordie I’d make it sometime if he wanted me to, and that made him happy, which made me happy. It was the first recipe I asked Aunt Lynne for, but not the last one. But it is the one I’ve made the most.

I’ve been eating this soup for only a year now, and it’s easily one of my favorite soups. Second only to homemade lobster bisque. It’s quite popular where Geordie comes from, but as I’ve never had much exposure to Portuguese cuisine, I’d been terribly ignorant of its existence. Thank goodness that changed! It might not stay cold for long here in Texas, but this is the perfect soup for a chilly winter’s evening.

It’s a fairly simple recipe, one that’s good for tinkering with. For one thing, you can, if you choose, make this soup with onion and celery. But not in this house. You can play with the veggies a little. I usually dice up a carrot or two to add to the soup, but I had run out of carrots when I was making this batch. I used a can of corn instead, and it came out quite nicely. You could also use a different kind of pasta, though smaller types are best. It’s not a finicky soup – do with it as you please, and it won’t treat you badly.


Portuguese Kale Soup
yields 4 plentiful servings

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
½ cup diced carrots
1 cup diced potatoes
5-6 cups chicken stock
12-oz can of diced tomatoes, with liquid
6 oz chopped linguiça or chorizo
15-oz can of kidney beans, drained
½ cup uncooked elbow macaroni
2 bunches of kale, stemmed and chopped
seasonings to your taste (salt, pepper, thyme, basil, etc.)

Saute the garlic and carrots in the oil over medium-low heat. Add the potatoes and chicken stock and heat through. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes. Add the linguiça (or chorizo) and the beans. Add in the seasonings – I toss in a couple teaspoons of thyme and basil, along with some salt and pepper, but you can use whatever you’re comfortable with. Bay works well too, though be sure to fish it out before eating. Simmer until the veggies are tender, about 30-40 minutes. Add the kale and the macaroni and cook until tender, 7-10 minutes. Serve with a nice, crusty bread.


I am a daughter and a sister, a wife and a friend. I am a reader and a writer, a dreamer and a realist, a teacher and a learner. I am the mother of a baby born sleeping. I am on a journey of healing, walking a path paved with tears and grief and hope.

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