Comfort Food To The Rescue: Julia Gartland's Creamy Miso Kabocha Soup With Tumeric, Lemongrass & Crispy Lentils

There is much to do and a lot of work ahead of us, while not stay lovingly fueled while doing it?
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Photography by Julia Gartland 

We can all agree it's been a chaotic few weeks—swinging wildly between the high highs and low lows has us craving a bit of steady comfort. And with the regular routine of staying home and staying healthy already in place, this recipe from our friend, food stylist, photographer and recipe developer, Julia Gartland, is exactly the feel-good nourishment we were craving.  

So, while a big hug from our nearest and dearest may be a while off, consider this stay-home stay-safe soup a warm embrace directly from our kitchen to yours. 

There is much to do and a lot of work ahead of us, while not stay lovingly fueled while doing it? 

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CREAMY MISO KABOCHA SOUP WITH TURMERIC, LEMONGRASS & CRISPY LENTILS 

Gluten-free, vegan, grain-free
Serves 4-6

This soup is simple, delicious and the perfect warming bowl for these winter months. It may seem like a lot of ingredients, but it mostly requires a little chopping and adding things to the same saucepan. If you don’t have fresh turmeric (or ginger) root, add about a teaspoons or so of the ground versions, taste it, and decide whether you want more. For the lemongrass, use the back of your knife to “bruise” the lemongrass—this helps bring out its flavor (don’t forget to remove before you blend!). Also, this is still fantastic without lemongrass, so feel free to alter. 

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, divided
  • 2 medium carrots, medium diced
  • 2 celery stalks, medium dice
  • 1 bunch of scallions, roughly chopped
  • 2 in. piece of ginger root, minced
  • 4 in. piece of lemongrass, bruised then halved
  • 1.5 in. piece of turmeric root, diced
  • 6 cups of cubed kabocha (or about 1/2 a medium squash)
  • 1 (15oz.) can of coconut milk
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1/4 cup miso
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • approx. 1/2 cup cooked lentils
  • greens, to serve
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DIRECTIONS:

In a large saucepan, add 1 tablespoon coconut oil over medium high heat. After a minute, swirl oil around in the pan to coat the bottom, then add carrots, celery, scallions, stirring often for about 5-7 minutes or until they begin to cook down and scallions have softened.

Then, add ginger, lemongrass, turmeric, and kabocha, cook the mixture for 2-3 minutes, then add coconut milk, water, miso and salt. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 25-30 minutes or until squash is softened (very easily pricked with a fork). Taste the broth, it should taste flavorful (if it doesn’t, let it go another 5-10 minutes). *Don’t forget to fish out your two pieces of lemongrass, if you choose to blend. Then, use an immersion blender to blend until smooth, or add to a vitamix to whirl up. Add the juice of one lemon, and stir to combine.

For crispy lentils: Add 3 tablespoons or so (enough to coat your pan well) coconut oil to a skillet over medium high heat. Once the pan is hot (hover your hand over the skillet to test), add cooked lentils in an even layer. (You might need to do batches for these, depending on your pan size, don’t overcrowd!) Let them cook, stirring occasionally to keep from burning. Add more oil if necessary, they should be “sizzling” in the oil to get them real crispy. They will take about 2-3 minutes to get crispy, use a slotted spoon to remove and set over a paper towel-lined plate.

To serve, top soup with freshly ground pepper, a handful of greens or herbs (cilantro or parsley would be great, I used baby arugula), and a small handful of crispy lentils per bowl. It serves 4-6, depending on what you consider to be a “bowl” or if you’d like this as a meal, or starter. Store the soup in a glass jar (beware, it will stain plastic) or tupperware, for up to a week (it hopefully won’t last that long). The soup will thicken once refrigerated, feel free to use a few teaspoons of water when reheating, or keep it nice and thick.

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JULIA GARTLAND IS A PHOTOGRAPHER, STYLIST & RECIPE DEVELOPER BASED IN NYC. IN 2018, SHE WAS CHOSEN AS ONE OF PDN’S 30 NEW & EMERGING PHOTOGRAPHERS TO WATCH. SHE RUNS THE TWICE-SAVEUR-NOMINATED SITE, SASSY KITCHEN, A GLUTEN-FREE RECIPE BLOG ABOUT WHOLE FOODS.

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