We have truly been blessed with a mild winter, here in Atlanta, this year. We have had a few very cold days, but by and large we have been spoiled. However, in my mind there is still nothing more comforting than a hearty bowl of piping hot soup filled with all sorts of nutritious ingredients. This recipe follows me from South Africa. My mom used to make it with the 4-in-1 soup mix that we used to buy there. She used to make it in a pressure cooker, but somehow it always tasted better on the second day. I have finally found the ingredients of the 4-in-1 soup mix, so I blend them myself, and I have learned that if I cook the soup “slow and low”, it tastes like “second day” soup on the first day. So, Mom, it is with much love and lots of great memories of your delicious cooking that I share another of your wonderful creations.Although this recipe is delicious without the meat, as a vegetarian soup, even I have to say that the meat just adds a delicious flavor, and if you are not vegetarian, I would add it. This soup is really hearty and it is almost a meal itself. Eaten with some fresh bread and a salad, it really could be your dinner. Enjoy
Meat, Vegetable and Lentil Soup
1 packet flanken
2 lbs. small peeled carrots
4 large parsnips
2 large turnips
1 bunch celery, leaves included
1/2 cup green lentils
1/2 cup red lentils
1/2 cup split peas
1/2 cup barley
salt and pepper
10 – 12 cups water
3 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
Prepare the leeks by slicing off the end pieces and then slicing them in half length wise. Wash them thoroughly under running water ensuring that all the sand and grit is removed from each layer of the leaves. Slice into bite size pieces and place in a large saucepan, large enough to hold the vegetables and 12 cups of water.
Add the carrots.
Peel the turnips and slice into chunks. Add to the saucepan.
Peel the parsnips, slice into bite size pieces and add to the saucepan.
Break the celery into individual stalks and wash well. Slice into bite size pieces and add to saucepan.
Add the frozen flanken to the vegetables.
Cover with 8 cups of water, the salt and pepper and start cooking at a high heat, till water begins to boil.
Meanwhile mix the lentils, barley and split peas together in a bowl. Rinse thoroughly in a collander and add to the soup mixture.
Add 2 to 4 more cups of water, depending on the size of your saucepan. Allow to come to a boil and then turn heat down and allow to cook at low heat, almost a simmer, for 3 to 4 hours. Vegetables and dried lentils, barley, and split peas must all be very soft.
Remove from heat.
With a slotted spoon, remove the flanken from the saucepan and set aside on a plate. Use an immersion blender to blend the soup into a thick and hearty soup, leaving some chunks of vegetables for a bit of texture. Return the meat to the pot.
When ready to serve, heat thoroughly at a low to medium heat, but make sure to stir frequently so that the ingredients do not stick to the bottom of your saucepan.