Last weekend we went on a hut trip with a bunch of friends (20, to be exact). The huts in Colorado's 10th Mountain Division System are amazing--comfy beds, great wood-burning stoves, and kitchens stocked with pretty much everything you need to make a great dinner. While some people think it's easier to just bring in the dehydrated stuff (and keep your pack lighter for the several-mile snowshoe/ski in), I think the meals are an important part of the whole experience.
We divided our 20-some into groups, and my group was responsible for dinner one night. As we brainstormed interesting options, I came across a lentil soup recipe from Food and Wine mag. The ingredients were simple enough, and I thought I could tweak it to make it tastier without the smoked turkey the original recipe called for. We chopped the veggies ahead of time in the food processor and brought them up in well-sealed bags. Here's what I ended up with--the most amazing lentil soup I've ever had! It got great reviews from the hungry hut-trippers, too.
1 tbsp Olive Oil
3 Garlic cloves, minced
2 Celery stalks, finely chopped
2 Carrots, finely chopped
1 Onion, finely chopped
3 Tomatoes, chopped
1 small can Tomato Juice
1 Bay Leaf
4 Rapunzel Vegetable Bouillon Cubes (or other good veg version)
2 quarts Water
1 cup Green Lentils
4 small Red Potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
Salt and freshly ground pepper
In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic, celery, carrots, and onion. Saute until soft, stirring often, about 7 minutes.
Add tomatoes, juice, bay leaf, bouillon cubes, water, and lentils. Mix thoroughly, and allow soup to come to a boil. Partially cover, and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for one hour, stirring once in awhile, until the lentils are tender. Add the potatoes, season with salt and pepper, and cook for about 10 minutes, until potatoes, too, are soft. Remove bay leaf before ladling out into small bowls.
We served with some amazing rosemary-sourdough grilled cheese sandwiches...a perfect and hearty combination.