Our Lenten journey is underway! The church has been dressed in violet and our promises to God for these 40 days have been made. The chants for the season speak of hope, transformation and a return to God. In the monastery, it is traditional to simplify life, not only in our work but also in our attitudes and our eating.
Many monastic houses fast from meat during Lent—a simple soup and bread for lunch and dinner are the norm. As we harvest the last of our winter squash from our garden, this simple yet hearty soup is the perfect beginning to this special season of the church year.
COOK TIME: 25 mins
PREP TIME: 45 mins
READY IN: 75 mins
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ pound carrot(s) peeled and diced
½ pound parsnips peeled and diced
1 leek(s) trimmed, sliced in half lengthwise and sliced
¼ pound celery sliced
½ pound butternut squash peeled and diced
1 zucchini diced
4 ounces baby spinach
½ cup dried lentils rinsed
Handful fresh parsley chopped
Handful fresh dill chopped
½ lemon juice and zest
6-8 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
salt and pepper
Melt the butter and olive oil in a heavy bottomed stock pot. Add the diced leeks, celery, carrots, parsnips, butternut squash and a small amount of the dill and parsley and sauté until golden and the vegetables are beginning to soften, stirring occasionally. Adjust the heat so the vegetables are sauteing, but not burning.
Add the lentils and continue to sauté for a few more minutes.
Add 6 cups of hot chicken or vegetable stock and freshly ground pepper (to taste).
Cook for about 8 min. over medium heat, simmer, but do not boil.
Add the diced zucchini and continue simmering until the lentils are cooked and the vegetables are softened, about 15 min.
Remove from heat and add the baby spinach, the herbs and the lemon zest and juice and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. If desired, serve with grated parmesan cheese.