On a very dreary night as my workday was winding down, all I could think about was soup. From the interior of the studio I could see that it was dark, damp and raining heavily outside. It's late September after all and I could imagine what this would actually feel like if I were in the Northeast. From the looks of it, it could have easily been 55 degrees out with a cold, chilly rain that would numb the bones. However, since I am writing to you from hot, humid Orlando...well, it was hot and humid but with the added joys of rain. Either way, it was a crummy day and I couldn't wait to get home. The soup weighed on my mind and I thought about what would taste so amazing after I'd kicked off my shoes from a long day and relaxed in comfortable clothes. I made a quick pit stop and picked up a few ingredients I thought might work. It was a total experimentation but I had a very good feeling about what I'd gathered in my basket.
I can't say enough about the success of my soup, it turned out to be something so amazing with flavors that were completely comprised of nothing more than the ingredients themselves. There are no seasonings in this soup whatsoever...none, zip, zero! It dawned on me that I never used salt or pepper, everything yummy about this soup was simply derived from the freshness that was put into the pot. From the moment I began rendering the bacon and onions, then adding the meats and veggies, layer after layer of mind blowing scents began to fill the house. So here's how I did it.
Yields 6-8 Servings
Ingredients 2 carrots (chopped how you like them)
1lb ground beef
3 spicy italian sausages (out of casing)
1 sweet onion (chopped)
4 cloves garlic (chopped)
2 cups roasted portobello mushrooms (cut in quarters)
4 cups organic beef stock
3/4 cup red wine (I used a zinfandel)
4 cups water
3/4 cup french lentils
5 stalks swiss chard (cut in quarters)
1 handful fresh spinach and arugula mixed
sprinkle crushed red pepper
5 strips bacon (chopped in tiny bits)
1 parmigiano rind (adds HUGE flavor)
Fresh grated parmigiano (for plating)
Fresh chopped parsley (for plating)
How to Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the mushrooms in a drizzle of olive oil and lay out on a baking sheet. Set them in the oven for 20-30 minutes till nicely roasted.
In a large pot on high, render the bacon and onion till bacon is nicely crisp and onion is translucent. Add the sprinkling of red pepper and garlic, followed by the beef and sausage, breaking up with a large spatula. I chose not to break mine up too much as I liked the larger bits of meat. Turn and coat the meat with the onions and bacon till browned but not cooked through. As meat begins to brown, add the wine, I like to let the wine cook and bubble for about a minute to evaporate a bit. Next, add the lentils, carrots, beef stock, water and parmigiano rind. Cover the pot and set to a low simmer for 40 minutes (stirring every 10 minutes). Lastly, add the mushrooms, swiss chard, spinach and arugula. Stir and get ready to enjoy!
I like to serve mine with a bit more grated parmigiano and some fresh chopped parsley.