I opened the fridge to scour its neglected contents after a busy weekend. Little bits of carrots and onion sat deserted at the bottom of the vegetable drawer. The half bunches of soggy and now unrecognizable herbs were tossed into the garbage. Once the fridge was reaped of its humble contents I moved on to the cupboards; so full a jar of fennel seeds spilled all over the counter as I dug deep in the back to find the bay leaves.
Our cupboards are full.
The purpose for this soup and this post is to bring attention to The Lunchbox Fund and more importantly the fact that 65% of children living in South Africa are hungry. As I stir black lentils into a pot with onions, carrots and red pepper I urge myself to look into that number and see faces. See children, not unlike my own in energy, joy and size. The difference is these children struggle to make it through today with grumbling tummies.
A dear friend of mine recently traveled to India. She came home after that trip moved by all she had seen and with these words, “blessed to be a blessing.” They rang through my head as I created a soup of ingredients from my cupboard. With a full cupboard and a voice I too can be a blessing and so can you.
Today we have a goal, a big goal, a doable goal – to raise $5,000. It’s enough to feed 100 South African children for an entire year. You know, what if we raised $10,000 so we could feed 200 sweet children? Could we do $15,000?! I totally think we could. That’s 300 little ones able to live and go to school with full stomachs and healthy minds and bodies. As my little boy said over while we sat at our table and ate lentil soup, “that’s a lot of kids.” Yes, it is. And we can feed them.
If you are blessed with a full cupboard, let’s be a blessing to those whose cupboards are empty.
Please join myself and nearly 100 other bloggers in donating to The Lunchbox Fund. We are nearing closer to our goal but I say let’s leave that $5,000 goal in the dust and reach for something greater. Anything helps.
Lentil Soup with Coconut
Serves 4 to 6
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 red pepper, diced
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
salt & pepper
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 bay leaves
pinch chile flake
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 can (14 ounces) coconut milk
3/4 cup black Beluga lentils (I’m sure other types would be fine, you may have to adjust the amount of water and cooking time)
2 cups water
Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large pot or Dutch oven. When the oil is shimmering add the onion, carrot, celery and red pepper along with a pinch of salt. Saute until the vegetables are tender and lightly golden, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic, coriander, bay, chile flake and a few grinds of black pepper. Continue to saute for 3 minutes until fragrant and the garlic softens. Stir in the tomato paste and coconut milk. Scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan then stir in the lentils. Add the water and 1 teaspoon kosher salt, bring to a boil then cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes, remove the cover and continue to simmer for 10 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Garnish with fresh cilantro, shaved radish and a drizzle of olive oil or unsweetened yogurt.