Fridge-Clearing Lentil Soup
by Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan

Makes 10-12 servings

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion (of any color), chopped
5 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1/4 pound chopped bacon, pancetta or ham, optional
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2″ – 1″ knob ginger, peeled and minced
1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, optional
2 bay leaves
1 pound dried green lentils, picked over and rinsed
4 – 6 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock or water
28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
4 cups chopped fridge-cleared vegetables (cauliflower, carrots, broccoli, leafy greens, etc.)

Yogurt, sour cream or crème fraîche plus chopped herbs and/or chopped onion for garnish

In a large soup pot (6 quart capacity or more), heat olive oil over medium heat and sauté the onion 1-2 minutes until softening, then add garlic and bacon. Add a teaspoon or so of salt and a few cranks of pepper. Cook until bacon browns a bit, another minute or so. Add the ginger, optional red pepper flakes, bay leaves, and lentils. Pour over enough stock to cover. Raise the heat to bring to a boil then lower to a simmer over medium low heat and cover.

If adding hard vegetables like carrots, add them after 15 minutes. This is also when to add the tomatoes. If adding medium-hard vegetables like cauliflower or squash, add after 20 minutes. If adding leafy greens, add when lentils are almost cooked through.

Cook a total of 30-40 minutes, checking in every 10 minutes to stir the pot. Soup is done when lentils and vegetables are tender, but not falling apart. If soup needs more liquid at any time, stir in a cup or two. (It should look like thick soup, but not like thick chili.) When consistency is right, check for seasoning and adjust as needed. Fish out the bay leaves and discard or compost.

For a smoother soup, blend some or all of it in a blender (careful when the soup is hot to blend in small batches.) Return the blended soup to the pot and stir. After blending it may need more liquid. It also will probably need more liquid after cooling and reheated as leftovers.

Garnish with a dollop of yogurt and or chopped onion or herbs.


Tarte Aux Pommes

makes one 10-11″ tart

For the filling:
7 medium-sized (6oz) apples, peeled, cored and quartered lengthwise
1/2 lemon
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup warm apricot glaze

1 10 or 11-inch prepared tart shell*, refrigerated

For the apricot glaze:
1/2 cup apricot preserves
2 tablespoons water or orange-flavored liqueur such as Cointreau or Triple Sec

Squirt the apple quarters with lemon and set aside.

Cut 4 apples worth of quarters (16 pieces), into chunks and place in a medium saucepan with sugar and 1/4 cup water. Cook over medium heat with cover slightly akimbo for about 3 minutes until cubes are giving off a nice appley scent. Remove the cover and cook a few minutes longer, stirring, until apples have broken down into a compote. Set aside to cool.

Slice the remaining apples (12 quarters) length-wise very thin. Using a mandolin will be the best way to get consistently-sized slices. If a mandolin isn’t available, use a flexible carving knife or very sharp chef’s knife. Try to get the slices no more than 1/8″-thick.

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Fill the tart shell with cooled compote almost to the top, leaving about 1/4″ of crust exposed. Arrange the sliced apples around the tart in a fanned pattern as in the photo. Depending on the size of your slices, you will probably get one ring of apples around the outside of the tart and be left with a hole in the middle that can be filled with a line of layered apples. If the apple slices are small, it might be possible to do a second ring of apples to completely cover the compote.

Brush apples with melted butter.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the apples are brown, but not burnt on the edges. If pastry is browning too deeply, shield it with a ring of foil.

To make the glaze: in a small saucepan, bring the preserves and water (or liqueur if using) to a boil over medium heat, stirring often. Cook about 2 to 3 minutes until thickened. If the preserves contain large chunks of fruit, transfer the glaze to a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Strain the glaze through a mesh sieve into a small bowl, pressing the glaze with the back of a large spoon or rubber spatula to extract as much liquid as possible.

Remove and cool on a cooling rack. Brush a thin layer of warm apricot glaze across the top of the apples, but not the crust.

Serve on its own, or with a dollop of freshly whipped cream.

*Pâte Brisée traditionally has no sugar, although the version linked to here calls for 1 teaspoon. It will certainly work, but I prefer using the sweeter version, a traditional Pâte Sucrée using 3 tablespoons sugar, instead of 1 teaspoon at the beginning of the recipe.


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