Thursday, January 08, 2009

After the holidays, many of us feel the need to return to a simpler lifestyle that is easier on the pocketbook as well as the body. The foods we eat are an important part of this transition. Mountain People's Co-op's Featured Recipe, Winter Hearth Soup (see recipe below), embodies many of these ideals:
  1. Buy fewer processed foods, and discover the joy and satisfaction of cooking from scratch.
  2. Take advantage of dried foods; they are less expensive and also use less fossil fuel to transport than their liquid counterparts. For example, the organic vegetarian chicken-style broth used in this recipe is the dried powder from the Co-op's bulk cooking ingredients section; the amount used in this recipe costs only $3.20. The equivalent amount of organic vegetarian chicken-style broth in aseptic packs would cost about $5. Similarly, cooking dried chickpeas in your slow-cooker is much less expensive than buying pre-cooked beans in cans.
  3. Save money by buying in bulk. During tough economic times, it isn't necessary to forgo the luxury of herbs and spices in our daily cooking. Buying herbs from the Co-op's bulk jars allows you to buy only as much as you want, and it's much less expensive than buying herbs and spices in jars. Typically, the cost of one of the Co-op's organic dried herbs or spices will be anywhere from 10% - 50% of what you will pay to buy the equivalent product in bottles in the grocery store!
Winter Hearth Soup features a new addition to the Co-op bulk bins: kamut (pronounced ka-moot). Kamut is an ancient relative of wheat. When cooked, it looks like a giant wheat berry, or according to some of our younger taste testers, like a "little canoe". Kamut has a sweet, nutty flavor that lends a heartiness to soups, stews, pilafs, and breads. Nutritionally, kamut contains more high quality protein, unsaturated fatty acid, and minerals than wheat; a 1-cup serving contains 22% of the RDA of protein but only 250 calories. Kamut is also an excellent source of selenium, a trace mineral that helps to protect the body against damage from free radicals. The Co-op now carries both kamut berries and kamut flour. Look for them in the bulk section of the Co-op.

Winter Hearth Soup Recipe
2 c. cooked garbanzo beans (chickpeas)*
3/4 c. kamut berries, rinsed
2 c. boiling water
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 c. chopped onion
1 c. chopped carrot
1/2 c. chopped celery
4 tsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. dried tarragon
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. turmeric
2 cloves garlic, minced
9 Tbsp. organic chicken-style broth powder
7 c. water
2 dried bay leaves
1/3 c. dried lentils, rinsed
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 scant Tbsp. light miso

Place kamut in a heat-safe bowl, cover it with boiling water, and let it stand for 30 minutes while you prepare the rest of the soup.

In a stock pot, saute the onion, carrot, and celery in the olive oil until the onion begins to soften (about 10 minutes). Add the parsley, tarragon, thyme, turmeric, and garlic, and cook for 2 more minutes, stirring often.

Combine the broth powder and water, then add to the stock pot along with the drained kamut and bay leaves. Simmer for 30 minutes.

Add the lentils and pepper, then simmer for 20 minutes or until the lentils are soft. Add chickpeas, simmer several minutes until heated through. Remove a small amount of broth from the pot, whisk in the miso to dissolve, and return it to the pot. Serves 5.

Two Co-op member households met for the evening and taste tested this recipe, along with a salad and fresh loaves of walnut wheat bread and seven-grain bleu from our local artisan bakery, New Day Bakery. We all enjoyed it - what a fabulous meal!
*In a pinch, you can use a 15-oz can of cooked chickpeas. My family prefers the taste (and I prefer the economy and no exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals in cans) of dried chickpeas, cooked in a slow cooker all day: 3 cups rinsed chickpeas + 5 cups water.


The Dalai Mama said...

Ohhhh. That looks fantastic! One question: In the instructions, it mentions cooking the lentils. The lentils aren't listed in the ingredients list, though. Can you reply or update with the amount of lentils needed? I can't wait to try this!

Mountain People's Coop said...

Hi Dalai Mama - sorry for the confusion - I fixed the recipe - it uses 1/3 c. lentils

This soup improves with age. The photo is the bowl I reheated for lunch today!

The Dalai Mama said...

Thanks! I can't wait to try it.

The Dalai Mama said...

Mmmmmmm. I made it this afternoon. It is so good!