Red Lentil Soup with Lemon

I have two hearty soups to share. Perfect to serve for dinner on a chilly night. This red lentil soup is healthy, delicious, and quick to prepare.

This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I doubled the recipe, modified the proportions, and puréed the finished soup to create a uniform texture. I served it with warm naan and green salad.

Yield: 8 servings

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, more for drizzling
  • 2 large yellow onions, chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt, more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground Chile powder, more to taste
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne, more to taste
  • 2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock (I used 1 quart of homemade turkey stock & 1 quart of chicken stock)
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups red lentils
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • juice and zest of 1 lemon, more to taste
  • 6 T chopped fresh cilantro, more for garnish
  1. In a large pot, heat oil over high heat until hot and shimmering.
  2. Add onion and garlic, and sauté until golden, about 4 minutes.
  3. Stir in tomato paste, cumin, salt, black pepper, chili powder, and cayenne, and sauté for 2 minutes longer.
  4. Add stock, water, lentils and carrots. Bring to a simmer, then partially cover pot and turn heat to medium-low. Simmer until lentils are soft, about 30 minutes.
  5. Taste and add salt if necessary.
  6. Using an immersion or regular blender or a food processor, purée the soup then add it back to pot.
  7. Reheat soup if necessary, then stir in lemon juice and cilantro.
  8. Serve soup drizzled with good olive oil and dusted lightly with chili powder, if desired. Garnish with additional minced cilantro as well, if desired.

Leek, Tomato, & Farro Soup with Pancetta

This hearty soup had more of a stew-like consistency. We ate it with a huge green salad and sliced sourdough baguette. It was an incredible meal on a cold night. We devoured it. 😉

This recipe was adapted from Dinner: Changing the Game by Melissa Clark. I doubled the recipe, decreased the pancetta, increased the garlic, used whole San Marzano tomatoes, and added stock and water to adjust the consistency. Great.

Yield: Serves 10-12

  • 8 oz pancetta, diced
  • 4 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3-4 leeks (white and light green parts only), cleaned and thinly sliced
  • 2 large celery stalks
  • 2 large carrots (I used purple and orange rainbow carrots)
  • 6-7 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme, plus more for serving
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 17-18 oz (about 3 cups) Farro (I used Trader Joe’s 10-minute Farro)
  • 2 28-oz cans whole San Marzano tomatoes, with juice, diced
  • 2 tsp coarse salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-3 cups water or chicken stock, as desired to adjust consistency
  • coarsely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for serving
  • chopped fresh parsley, for serving
  1. Heat a large pot over medium heat. (I used an enameled cast iron pot.)
  2. Add the pancetta and cook until it is well browned and crisped, 5 to 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a  paper-towel-lined plate. (Leave the rendered fat in the pot.)
  3. Add the olive oil to the pot, stir in the leeks, celery, and carrot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened, 7 to 10 minutes; stir in the garlic for the last minute.
  4. Add the thyme and rosemary sprigs, farro, tomatoes, salt, and a generous grind of black pepper.
  5. Bring to a simmer and cook until the farro is almost tender, about 20 minutes.
  6. Stir in the pancetta and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes more.
  7. Adjust the consistency with water or stock, as desired.
  8. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls, discarding the herb sprigs. Top with shredded cheese and a sprinkling of thyme or parsley.

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Roasted Chicken with Potatoes, Arugula, & Garlic Yogurt

I love the trend of making a complete meal on a single sheet-pan- absolute genius! This is a wonderful springtime version that has it all… (at least for me!) Chicken thighs, arugula, leeks, harissa, garlic yogurt, and potatoes (for my husband 🙂 ). A complete meal- including salad!

This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I used boneless skinless chicken thighs, Greek yogurt, and modified the plating as well as the cooking time. Easy & delicious!!

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

  • 1 ½ to 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs (8-10 thighs)
  • 1 ¼ pounds small Yukon Gold potatoes, halved and cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, more as needed
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper, more as needed
  • 2 tablespoons harissa (or use another thick hot sauce, such as sriracha)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed
  • 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest (from 1/2 lemon)
  • ⅓ cup plain yogurt (I used Greek yogurt)
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 2 ounces baby arugula, or more, as desired
  • Chopped fresh dill, as needed
  • Lemon juice, as needed
  1. Combine chicken and potatoes in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together harissa, cumin and 3 tablespoons oil. Pour over chicken and potatoes and toss to combine. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, or up to 8 hours in the refrigerator.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine leeks, lemon zest, a pinch of salt and the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil.
  4. Heat oven to 425 degrees (I used the convection roast setting). Arrange chicken and potatoes on a large rimmed baking sheet in a single layer making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Roast 15 minutes.
  5. Remove pan from the oven and toss potatoes lightly. Scatter leeks over pan. Roast until chicken and potatoes are cooked through and everything is golden and slightly crisped, 20 to 30 minutes longer.
  6. While chicken cooks, place yogurt in a small bowl. Grate garlic over yogurt and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  7. To serve, scatter dill over the chicken and vegetables in the pan. Place a generous handful of arugula on each plate. Spoon chicken and vegetables over the arugula. Dollop yogurt sauce over the chicken. Drizzle with oil and lemon juice and serve. (I served each plate with lemon to squeeze over the top, as desired.)

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Brown Butter Skillet Cornbread

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I hate to admit it, but I often use the quick Trader Joe’s cornbread mix when we want cornbread as a side. It is sweet and cake-like and yummy. But… My South Carolina-raised husband and I know that this barely sweetened skillet cornbread is the “real deal” southern cornbread. COMPLETELY different from a box mix. The crust was crunchy and buttery; the inside moist and tender- delicious!! The entire kitchen filled with the wonderful smell of nutty browned butter as it baked too. 🙂

This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. The recipe makes a GIGANTIC 12-inch skillet (almost) filled to the rim with cornbread. We ate it with Vegetarian Chili with Winter Vegetables and a green salad but had plenty of leftovers for breakfast. The leftover cornbread was wonderful reheated in a toaster oven- and buttered. We also slathered it with homemade Peach-Vanilla Bean Jam. YUM!

Yield: One 12-inch skillet cornbread (or 9×13-inch), about 12 servings (1/2 the recipe could be made in a 9-inch skillet)

  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks)/170 grams unsalted butter
  • ½ cup/120 ml maple syrup
  • 2 ¼ cups/530 ml buttermilk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cups/180 grams yellow cornmeal, fine or medium-coarse grind
  • ½ cup/65 grams whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup/60 grams all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tablespoons/18 grams baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons/9 grams kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon/5 grams baking soda
  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees (on convection).
  2. On the stovetop, in a 11- or 12-inch skillet (ovenproof and preferably cast iron), melt the butter over medium heat. Cook, swirling pan to lightly coat sides and bottom, until the foam subsides and the butter turns a deep nut brown. (Watch carefully to see that it does not burn.)(As it is difficult to assess the color in a dark pan, I checked the color in a teaspoon!)
  3. Pour brown butter into a large bowl. (Do not wipe out the pan.)
  4. Whisk the maple syrup into the butter, then whisk in buttermilk. The mixture should be cool to the touch; if not, let cool before whisking in the eggs.
  5. Then whisk in the cornmeal, flours, baking powder, salt and baking soda.
  6. If the skillet is no longer hot (cast iron retains heat longer than other metals), reheat it briefly on the stove for a few minutes. Scrape batter back into it.
  7. Bake until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into it emerges clean, about 25 minutes (on convection), or up to 30 to 40 minutes in a standard oven. Cool in the skillet for 10 minutes before slicing.

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