whole foods and beyond....nourishing the body, spirit and soul

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

old world lentil soup


though my feet walk in the modern world, my heart beats in the old world. oh those two words are just so magical to me! day dreaming of ancient traditions and wisdom being passed down the generations, living by the seasons, breathing air not polluted by toxins, collecting clean water from a fresh flowing spring….



back in the modern world (sigh)….. but lucky me, growing up of greek heritage, i was mesmerized listening to my grandparents and their friends tell many stories of the old world era they grew up in. their words melded together to paint the magic of the simpler life, residing in the beauty of the greek countryside. most stories were complete with detailed recollections of ocean breezes, village donkeys, and of course, the best food the world has to offer!


our family vacation to greece in  2014 transported us back in time, to the original settings of my grandparent's stories!

overlooking my grandfather's village, kardymila

walking the streets of my grandmother's village, nehori

unfortunately, by the time i took an interest in cooking, my grandmother was not well enough to be in the kitchen passing along her secrets of the old world. i was beyond thrilled when i got an opportunity in my early twenties to cook side by side with my sister's mother in law, a greek immigrant who grew up in a very small rural village on the island of rhodes. the traditions, wisdom and secrets i had been looking for were passed along so generously from her to me, as we spent an entire day cooking through  multiple traditional greek recipes. this memory guides me through many cooking ventures in my kitchen today and is evident in this recipe. for instance, in my teenage years, food network always taught me to add fresh herbs at the *end* of cooking, yet you will notice the fresh herbs in this recipe are cooked in the soup from the very beginning- a trick i learned that day that adds a rich depth flavor.

my husband picking grapes from the vine in rhodes at my brother-in-law's parent's house


though convenience is the anthem of our modern culture, i learned to slow things down and enjoy the process as we did everything from scratch that day in the kitchen. not only was the food phenomenal from slowly coaxing the flavors out, but it was nutrient dense as all the ingredients were local and our grains were given time to soak, as the lentils are in this soup as well. soaking and sprouting grains (legumes, nuts and seeds etc) is a lost tradition, that is not only necessary to obtain the nutrients, but so easy, you'll question why our society has ditched it! to learn more, find my article on sprouting at postmodernhood blog. 








slow your pace a little, and connect to ancient traditions as you prepare this nourishing soup. your reward for the wait will be so worth it…intense flavor and robust health!


old world lentil soup

*part 1*
1 bag dry lentils
filtered water
2 tbs apple cider vinegar (or sea salt, whey, lemon juice etc to break down enzyme inhibitors)

*part 2*
3 tbs olive oil
4 carrots
4 stalks celery
1 yellow pepper
1 onion
1 bunch fresh parsley 
5 cloves garlic
1 c dry red wine
1 can organic diced tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1 tbs sea salt
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes 
filtered water (use homemade bone broth if you've got it, for added flavor and nutrients!)
4 c fresh kale, de-stemmed and chopped





**part 1**
*pour lentils in a glass bowl and pour enough filtered water to cover two inches above them. stir in apple cider vinegar, cover and let sit at room temperature for 12-24 hours.

**part 2**
*drain and rinse the soaked lentils. set aside.
*in a large pot heat the olive oil over medium to medium-high heat. dice the celery, carrots, pepper and onion.
*when oil is heated, add the diced vegetables and sautée for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally.
*when vegetables have softened, rough chop the parsley and add it to the pot. using a small cheese grater, grate in the garlic. stir well, and cook for two minutes.
*add the red wine. stir well to deglaze the bottom of the pot.
*stir in the can of tomatoes, bay leaf, salt and red pepper flakes. add enough filtered water to cover everything by an inch and bring to a boil.
*cover and reduce heat to low. simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
*15 minutes before serving, de-stem and chop the kale. stir into the soup, and cover.
*pour in bowls and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil to serve.
*this keeps well in the fridge and you'll notice that the flavors even enhance as they get a chance to marry.



nourish yourself…old world style!

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