Tag Archives: Mexican

Mexican lentil soup

Mexican Lentil Soup

I think this year is going to be my year of soup. I’ve finally learned to appreciate it after being a life-long soup avoider. It’s all because of smooth soups, which while often delicious, generally make me feel queasy and too full, but actually leave me very hungry 30 minutes later. Oh and there was that traumatic experience when I was a child and I was forced to eat a whole large tin of tomato soup concentrate. That is a memory that continues to haunt me until this day. In fact, even thinking about eating smooth soups makes me feel ill. Perhaps I’m odd, but I can’t be the only one.

However, I do enjoy non-blended soups from time to time (especially my Moroccan chickpea and lentil soup). My general aversion to soup has meant I don’t make them very often, and are usually the last thing I think about making, but their convenience has made me see the light: One pot, minimal prep time, jam-packed full of nutrients, and easy to eat with only one hand while wrapped in a blanket on the couch (possibly the most important thing for winter in an old house without heating). Now I’m craving hearty creations such as this one like there’s no tomorrow. But hey, why am I preaching to you about soup? You probably already like it or you wouldn’t have clicked on a soup recipe.

This is a pretty simple recipe, but very delicious. It’s also quicker cooking than most soups , making this a great weeknight option. The secret to this soup is adding the liquid smoke to the oil before frying the onions, so don’t skip it. It mimics the role of the traditional fried bacon of Mexican lentil soup very well.

Ingredients

2tbsp refined coconut oil (and I mean refined – no coconutty taste)

1/2 tsp liquid smoke, plus more to taste

1 large brown onion, finely chopped

1/2 cup each of finely diced red and green capsicum

1 medium carrot, finely diced (you do NOT want big chunks, I’m talking 1 or 2mm dice)

4 large cloves garlic, smashed with your knife and roughly chopped

1-2 jarred jalapeños (in vinegar), minced, depending on your heat tolerance. I use two.

1 cup whole red (aka brown) lentils, soaked at least 8 hours

1 400g tin diced tomatoes

2 cups vegetable stock

3 cups water

1 heaped tsp sugar

1 two-fingered pinch ground cumin

1 two-fingered pinch dried oregano

2 -3 tsp nutritional yeast (yes I mean teaspoons. You don’t want it to taste it, it’s purpose is a flavour enhancer)

3 large handfuls baby spinach

Sea salt to taste

Garnish options

Chopped coriander, chopped spring onions, sweet cherry tomatoes, grilled corn, guacamole (highly recommended), corn chips, none. Whatever your heart desires.

Method

Place the oil and liquid smoke in a large saucepan and heat over low heat. Add the onions and cook until clear and well browned. Add the capsicum, carrot and garlic and cook another two minutes. Add the tomatoes and lentils and stir well.

Add the stock, water, cumin, oregano, sugar and 1tsp salt to the pot. Bring to the boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Stir in the nutritional yeast and allow to simmer away until the lentils are tender, stirring occasionally. Taste and add a little more liquid smoke if you want. The flavour does cook off. Adjust salt to taste, add the spinach and stir until wilted.

Eat all the soup

Tacos de Papas

Boss Tacos de Papas

Makes eight 6inch damned delicious tacos 

Today was Fabio’s birthday. Naturally, I had a four course dinner planned, and we had all been looking forward to it all week (and you can look forward to reading about it soon). Unfortunately, the guest of honour has come down with a really nasty cold, and since he can’t taste anything, requested we postpone the dinner. Fair enough, but we still needed to eat, and a birthday is no time for a slouch meal, tastebuds or not.

I decided that I needed to make something still a little bit special, an occasional type of meal, very delicious for me, with lots of great textures for Fabio (because texture is something at least), but using only the few ingredients I had on hand not set aside for the four course meal.  I opened the fridge hoping for inspiration, and was dismayed to find only cabbage and kale. Hmm…perhaps a trip to the shop was required after all. Then I remembered the purple sweet potato, and suddenly inspiration was born.

This potato was always destined for greatness. I saw it at the supermarket a few days ago, all by itself with no purple friends in a sea of orange. How nobody else had spotted this special variety of potato and snatched it up I don’t know, but after making these tacos, I know it must have been fate. It called out to me to take it home and make it into something delicious, and that I did. I realised this evening that a purple sweet potato, with it’s firm, starchy flesh would make the best tacos de papas I had ever eaten. And thus, dinner was made and happiness was, until there was sadness, because all were gone.

The only thing that could have made these better would have been some thinly sliced radish, but I didn’t have any. They’re amazing without it, but radish always takes potato tacos to the next level.

Ingredients

450g purple skinned sweet potato (the kind with white flesh on the inside), peeled and diced into large pieces

1/4 tsp ground cumin

Sea Salt

8 x 6 inch soft white corn tortillas (preferably freshly home-made)

1 1/2 cups finely sliced red cabbage

1 1/2 cup finely sliced white cabbage

1 cup finely sliced curly kale

2 large spring onions, julienned

1/4 cup thinly sliced radish (optional but recommended)

1 batch bangin’ chipotle dressing

Canola oil for frying

Method

1. Bring a pot of salted water to the boil. Add the potatoes and boil until cooked through, around 8-15 minutes (you are correct, I didn’t time this at all).

2. Meanwhile, toss the cabbage, kale and spring onions together. Spread the salad out onto the serving plates, reserving a handful to top the tacos. Drizzle with 1/3 of the chipotle dressing.

3. Drain the potatoes and return to the pot. Add the cumin and a large pinch of salt and mash. Add salt to taste if required.

4. Scoop out a couple of tablespoons of the mashed potato and drop into the middle of each tortilla. If you aren’t using freshly made tortillas, make sure you soften them first. Press the tortillas closed and smoosh the filling out towards the edges a little. Secure the tops of each taco with a toothpick.

5. Put canola oil into a heavy frying pan 1cm deep. Heat the oil over medium heat to sizzle point. Fry the tacos in batches until crispy and golden, around 2-3 minutes on each side. Place on a paper towel lined plate to drain.

6. Remove the toothpicks from the tacos and arrange on the serving plate over the salad. Sprinkle the remaining salad over the top, along with the radishes if using. Drizzle with the remaining sauce and serve immediately.