Sunny Winter Vegetable Mulligatawny

I was planning on posting a recipe for oven-baked gnocchi with white beans and chard this week. To boot, I've made this oven-baked gnocchi three different times, adjusting the flavors, textures and procedure to make sure it's filling, warming and quick enough to be worth making after a long day at the office.

But alas, last week when I happened to have some of the Round 3 Gnocchi for lunch, I got a rather voracious stomach bug that lasted several days and provided some rather spectacular pyrotechnics. I'm quite sure the gnocchi wasn't to blame-- it's more than likely that one of my many tiny clients who frequently cough or sneeze INTO my mouth during therapy is the culprit.  Anyway...

Gnocchi and I are on a break.

Instead, I'd like to offer you this gorgeous soup. "Soup" doesn't really do it justice-- it's so thick, so textured and chunky that it's closer to a stew. Filled with root vegetables, sprinkled with beans and enriched by coconut milk, it will keep you full and happy for the better portion of the day. Plus, there's nothing like turmeric's sunny glow to banish your winter blues. I know this will be a staple for me in the coming weeks of gloom and frosty cheeks-- hope it brightens your days, too.


Sunny Winter Vegetable Mulligatawny Adapted slightly from here Serves 8-10

1 cup dried red lentils 1 Tbsp coconut oil ½ tsp mustard seeds (ground mustard would also work) ½ Tbsp ground turmeric ¼ tsp cayenne pepper ½ Tbsp ground coriander ½ tsp salt 3 Tbsp. minced ginger 2 small onions, chopped 4 cloves garlic, chopped 1 red bell pepper, diced 6 cups diced mixed root vegetables** 1 cup cooked (or canned) chickpeas 1 14oz. can diced, no-salt tomatoes 1 14oz. can light coconut milk 4 cups vegetable broth juice of ½ lemon

**I used carrots, parsnips, a sweet potato and a Yukon Gold potato but any kind of squash, celeriac, turnips, daikon, kohlrabi, sunchokes would all work, too.

In a large stockpot, heat the oil and add all spices and minced ginger (not the garlic). Stir often so spices do not burn. When the mix smells fragrant, add the onions and cook until softened, about 5-7 minutes. If it seems like the mixture is too dry or the bottom of the pot gets too dark, add a little of the tomato liquid and continue to stir.  Add garlic and cook a couple minutes more.

Add the chopped vegetables and stir well to coat with spices. Cook for 5 minutes. Add chickpeas, if using, and cook until heated through. Add canned tomatoes and coconut milk.

Add the lentils to the pot along with the vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 20-30 minutes until the lentils are soft and the root vegetables tender when pierced with a fork. Add the lemon juice to the soup. Season to taste. Serve hot!