Lentils form the base of many a nutritious winter soup, some adventurous, some traditional, all comforting. Here I took the shiitake mushrooms I was happily surprised to find at the winter farmers market alongside the fresh spinach and added brown rice and tomatoes, then gave it all a partial puree for a slightly chunky, porridge-y consistency. Perfect on a recent frigid night.
3 cups brown lentils
3 cups short grain brown rice
2 medium onions, diced
6-8 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 lb shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and diced
3 cups tomatoes (canned or frozen; thawed if frozen)
1/4 - 1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 lb spinach, stemmed
Salt and pepper to taste
Place the lentils and rice in a soup pot and add enough chicken stock to cover generously. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until lentils and rice are both tender, 30-45 minutes.
While the lentils and rice cook, heat a little olive oil in a medium skillet, then add the garlic and onions and saute for 1-2 minutes over medium-high heat. Add the shiitakes and saute until tender.
When the lentils and rice are cooked, add the shiitake mixture to the pot along with the tomatoes and thyme and bring the heat back up until the soup simmers. Use an immersion blender to partially puree the soup (or do this in batches in a regular blender), then add the spinach and cook until wilted. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serves about 6.