Pascale's Kitchen: Hearty winter soups

This week I’m bringing you three of my favorite winter soups to help you warm up and enjoy some comfort food.

 Orange lentil and carrot soup. (photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
Orange lentil and carrot soup.
(photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)

There’s nothing better on a cold, wet winter day than sitting around the kitchen table enjoying a thick winter soup with our loved ones. I prepare soup practically every day during the winter, to be eaten alongside stews and baked dishes. 

I still recall that wonderful childhood feeling when I would arrive home after a long day at school and smell the hot soup my mother had prepared for us. There just isn’t anything better in the world when you come shivering into the house, and I love starting the meal with a bowl of it. 

I change up what soup I make each time, depending on my mood, the weather outside, and which vegetables I happen to have in my fridge. The most important thing is that all the ingredients be fresh and of the highest quality, but you can certainly add a little soup powder (preferably without MSG or other preservatives). 

For more stories, click here >>

I love to make a different soup each time and switch up the ingredients. Sometimes I decide which soup to make depending on the preferences of whichever family members will be home that day. There are lots of way to thicken your soup – you can add flour, pasta, orzo, legumes or grains. 

And so, this week I’m bringing you three of my favorite winter soups to help you warm up and enjoy some comfort food.

 Rice and orange lentil soup. (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN) Rice and orange lentil soup. (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)

The first recipe is for a rice and orange lentil soup that is easy and quick to make and very filling. You can change the thickness of the soup by adding more or less water. 

The second recipe is for a pea and noodle vegetable soup. I made this soup this week because I happened to have a bag of frozen peas in my freezer. You can make vegetable soup with practically anything you happen to have in your fridge or freezer. This soup is thickened by adding noodles. Start by adding half a cup of water, and keep adding more until you reach the desired thickness. 

The third recipe if for an orange lentil and carrot soup that is thickened by the lentils. 

Now, all you need to do is choose which soup you want to make, take out your favorite soup pot and get started chopping. These soups are best served alongside tasty baked dishes.

RICE AND ORANGE LENTIL SOUP

Makes 6-8 servings.

  • 4 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced thinly
  • 5 medium tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • ½ tsp. salt (or as desired)
  • ¼ tsp. spicy paprika
  • Pinch of sweet paprika
  • ¼ tsp. white pepper, ground
  • 6-7 cups water
  • 1 cup orange lentils
  • ½-¾ cup rice

Heat the oil in a large pot. Add the onion and sauté until it turns golden brown. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, salt and other spices and cook for 5 minutes. 

Fill up the pot with water to the halfway point. Rinse the lentils well and then add them to the pot. Cover and bring to boil. Stir and cook for 20 minutes.

Add the rice, stir and add ¾ cup water. Cover the pot and cook for 20-25 more minutes until the rice has softened and expanded. 

Level of difficulty: Easy.Time: 50-60 minutes. Status: Parve.

 Pea and noodle soup. (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN) Pea and noodle soup. (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
PEA AND NOODLE SOUP

Makes 6-8 servings. 

  • 1 large onion
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 150-200 gr. pumpkin
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 5 parsley sprigs
  • 5 cilantro sprigs (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1½-2 cups frozen green peas
  • ½ tsp. harissa or spicy peppers
  • ½ tsp. sweet paprika
  • ½ tsp. cumin
  • ¼ tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 8-9 cups water
  • 1-1½ cups thin noodles

Finely chop the onion. Peel the carrots and pumpkin and cut them into medium-sized chunks. Rinse the celery and slice into small pieces or chop finely. Chop the parsley and cilantro finely.

Heat the olive in a large pot. Add the onion and sauté until it becomes translucent. Add all of the vegetables and stir. Sauté for 2 or 3 minutes. Add the garlic, peas and spices. Stir well and pour in the water. Cover and bring to a boil. 

Cook for 30 minutes. Stir, taste and adjust seasoning. Bring back to a boil and add the noodles. Stir and cook over a low flame for 30 more minutes or until the noodles have softened. Serve hot.

Level of difficulty: Easy.Time: 50-60 minutes. Status: Parve.

ORANGE LENTIL AND CARROT SOUP

Makes 6-8 servings. 

  • 1 large onion
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 3 medium carrots
  • 1½-2 cups orange lentils
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 9-10 cups boiling water (depending on desired consistency)
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. sweet paprika
  • ½ tsp. harissa or spicy paprika
  • ¼ tsp. curry or ras el hanout (Tunisian spice mix)
  • ½-¾ tsp. cumin
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Serving suggestion:

  • Chopped cilantro
  • 1 lemon

Chop the onion finely and crush the garlic. Peel the carrots and grate them coarsely. Rinse the orange lentils. 

Heat the oil in a medium pot and sauté the onion until it’s become translucent and softened. Add the carrots and garlic and mix well. Sauté until the carrots have softened, for 2-3 minutes. 

Add the orange lentils and the spices. Mix well and add the boiling water. Mix, cover and heat over a medium-low flame. Cook for 25-30 minutes until the lentils have softened. 

Serve in large bowls. Sprinkle each bowl with a little chopped cilantro and a few drops of fresh lemon juice. 

Level of difficulty: Easy-medium.Time: 50-60 minutes. Status: Parve.

Translated by Hannah Hochner.