I realised recently that I'd only really blogged about new soups that I was trying, and hadn't used the blog to showcase any of my all time favourite soups, so here it comes, the first Hall of Famer! I've been making this soup for 15 plus years I expect. I initially found this recipe in the January 1991 issue of Gourmet. That issue was the 50th anniversary issue and it was a corker. I'd only chanced on Gourmet a month or two before. I remember stopping by at the Forest Lodge newsagency to pick up my monthly fix on my way to or from uni. I think Gourmet was one of the first magazines to really touch my foodie nerve, and I was a regular and avid buyer for many years. Sadly Gourmet is no more. I still have a massive collection of their magazines, and I did make quite a number of interesting recipes that I found within its pages over the years. None more often than this soup. I have long loved soup. My mother used to make a beef and vegetable soup every Saturday morning of my childhood. She still makes that soup. I do wonder if that soup is why some of my favourite soups are chunky soups with a grain, real stand your spoon up in it soup. I do like making different soups each week, but there are some soups of course that I make over and over again, and this is certainly one of them. Everyone who has tasted this soup loves it too.
This recipe was initially published way back in 1984! Was anything great back in 84? Wiki tells me that it was the year of Born in the USA, Bananarama, Purple Rain and Stop Making Sense. 1984 saw Stevie Wonders worst song ever as the biggest seller of the year, and Bandaid and Frankie Goes to Hollywood were huge. And this
Now how is it that back in 1984 noone realised George Michael was gay? Admittedly I was having too much fun in Edmonton to notice. But happily somewhere, someone was creating a soup masterpiece.
The introduction to the recipe was what drew me into trying it that first time. "Some soups genuinely do inspire a devotion akine to love, and this is one of them". Because really Lentil and Brown Rice, well it doesn't sound all that fantastic, I can certainly see that. But with all those years that I spent as an impoverished student in the 90s, this was the perfect recipe for me to find. Delicious. Nutritious. And makes about 8 gallons. Bonus. I've always added the smoked sausage (I use a chorizo) as that's how I did it the first time, and I've never wanted to tinker with the recipe, which is really quite unusual for me. I usually add extra vegies that I may lying about the fridge or substitute something or other. I was only extolling the virtues of this soup to someone at work the other day, so then of course I had to make it this weekend.
Thankfully, even though Gourmet is gone, Epicurious still has the recipe online. I noticed with some of the comments that various people have substituted balsamic vinegar for the apple cider vinegar. That does have me a bit intrigued I must say, but I had to stick with the original this time around. If I make it again this winter I may just try using the balsamic instead. What if it can be improved? Sadly they don't have a food stylist photo version of the soup, so you'll only get to see mine.
The building blocks:
Layers of flavour:
A great thing about this soup, is you just throw everything into the pot then onto the stove- so hardly any washing up beyond the knife, chopping board and pot.
The fabulous end result, a wonderful, warming bowl of chunky nourishment