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simple garlic + greens soup with smoky chickpea flatbread


Despite bemoaning comfort food’s ubiquity or “upscale comfort cuisine” in predominantly shoddy-glossy establishments, I do find these foods to be rather important in a day to day sense. Misery, sickness or fatigue aren’t the only occasions that find me seeking that sort of cozy reassurance though. I work towards comfort immediately upon waking every day — and I find it in a cup of tea, a piece of fruit, a handful of granola, some avocado smushed on toast with chill flakes, whatever’s there… Perhaps my angle on this sought-after feeling is different, but when I think of comfort and an optimal self, I aim for renewal. If there are harsh forces in the world, I won’t bring more of the same violence down onto my body. The food or drink’s abilities to soothe and revitalize must work in tandem.

With that criteria floating in the background, I generally find the most comforting foods to be elemental, aligning with the makings of our magnificent earth. In nature, that force of Goodness or God is all around. The total immersion in colour and textures is evidence of this power. I want that on the plate in front of me in as much as I can manage. The approach to nourishment carries itself out from there rather seamlessly, making its own intuitive connections along the way.

There are poached eggs adorning the top of any dish you could imagine, their gleaming whites evoke drifting clouds and life-moving/affirming breezes. A salty noodle broth splashes, cleanses and renews us from deep down like the sea. Greens and roots arrive with the earth still intact, upfront with their healing power. The deep brown bottoms of heavy sourdough loaves remind us that fire was the original cooking tool of choice, that it really is all we need for sustenance. The flavour and whole-life-satiety of such things are with me long after the food is gone. These are instances of true comfort, one’s self made better by reconnecting with the world for a moment and a meal.

It takes me in with its warmth and, more importantly, the meal brings me outside of my own mind a bit as well. There is an awareness involved that goes beyond automated fork and spoon lifting. In this particular example of simple soup, there are still-toothsome bits of greens, heavy with garlic, that require a small chew. The broth is a bit saline and can be sipped carefully while piping hot. The sweet potatoes are soft and rustic, bringing a very felt fullness. I add lentils to contribute even more hearty qualities, which I find necessary on these cool and damp early spring evenings. The chickpea flatbread has a bit of a socca vibe, but it’s more of a low maintenance affair, doing its thing in the oven while you simmer the soup and what have you.

So with that, I’ll cut it short and sweet right here — hopefully leaving you all in thoughts of comfort, vibrance and the many other good things that we have going.


I almost forgot to mention that I have a guest post at the wonderful Golubka blog this week. Anya’s cuisine and photographs speak of life lived well and vibrantly, so I’m more than happy to be sharing some little (gluten free and vegan) lemon tarts over there for you. You can check them out by clicking here.

simple garlic + greens soup with sweet potatoes
serves: 3-4
notes: Use regular potatoes if you like and any kind of greens that strike your fancy. This soup is rather easy going.

1 tbsp grapeseed or coconut oil
1 small onion, diced
5-6 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
1/3 cup french/brown lentils, rinsed + picked over
1 medium sweet potato, cut into 1/2-1 inch dice (peeling is optional)
5 cups vegetable stock (or 1 veggie bouillon cube + 5 cups water)
4-5 cups of roughly cut, sturdy greens (mustard greens, kale, cabbage, collards)
juice of 1/2 a lemon
salt + pepper

Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until they are quite soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the lentils and diced sweet potato and stir them about to coat in the oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the stock to the pot and bring to a boil, stirring the pot here and there. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook until the sweet potatoes/lentils are just soft, about 15 minutes. Add the greens and give the pot a stir. Allow them to wilt just slightly. Add the lemon juice, taste for seasoning and serve hot with chili flakes, drizzles of extra virgin olive oil and whatever else you like.

smoky chickpea flatbread
serves: 2-3
notes: You can mix this up with any spices/herbs/citrus zests etc that you like. Also I mixed this batter up, covered it, and left it in the fridge for 3 days. All worked out fine and it baked while my soup was happening.

1 1/2 cups chickpea flour
salt + pepper (I was liberal with both)
1/2 tsp smoked paprika (I used bittersweet)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 3/4 cups filtered water (approx)

In a medium bowl, combine the chickpea flour, salt and pepper, smoked paprika and olive oil. Stir that up a bit. Add the water, starting with about 1 1/4 cups. Stir the batter with a spatula until combined. The consistency should be like thin pancake batter. Add more water if necessary. Cover the bowl with saran wrap, pressing the wrap onto the top of the batter. Let it sit for 2-3 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or grease it with more olive oil.

Scrape the batter onto the prepared sheet pan and spread it out to 1/4 inch thickness or so, shaking the pan and banging it on the counter to do so. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until golden in spots and lifting off of the pan with ease. Remove from the oven, cool slightly and serve warm in torn pieces. Optional: drizzle with more olive oil and black pepper.

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Kathryn17/04/2013 - 7:48 am

Food that nourishes the body is, I think, the very best kind of comfort food. Reassuring and life-affirming, like this bowl of goodness.

Ashlae17/04/2013 - 8:41 am

Word, lady. Nourishing food is the only kind of comfort food – if it can’t heal or warm or soothe my soul, then it’s a far cry from comfort (for me, at least). Loving this soup and your gorgeous, gorgeous photos. You rule.

thelittleloaf17/04/2013 - 8:45 am

I love the photo of that garlic. And I love your definition of comfort food – so much more than what we’ve come to categorise as comfort in the form of bland, pappy carbs, sugar and sweets.

Ashley17/04/2013 - 9:25 am

Gorgeous photos, colors, and recipe! And, ohhhh your words. Always so meaningful and honest. LOVE.

Great recipe, so healthy. And pictures are amazing.

Kathryne17/04/2013 - 11:53 am

Love your concept of comfort food, Laura. Funny how comfort food seems to connote unhealthy cheesy/salty/fatty things more so than warming, nourishing soups like this one. Looks lovely.

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar17/04/2013 - 2:02 pm

This looks fabulous!!

Jenny @ BAKE17/04/2013 - 3:50 pm

This soup looks absolutely perfect, I am going to have to make it as it has so many of my favourite ingredients in it!

Christina17/04/2013 - 8:49 pm

There’s something about the earthiness of this soup that makes it seem so inviting. I can almost taste it already…

Kris17/04/2013 - 10:42 pm

You know, I’ve been thinking about my relationship with food a lot lately, feeling really positive shifts happening (both subtle and major) regularly… or perhaps I’m just more aware of them now. You speak my language, girl! My approach to comfort food has only started to shift in the last few years of my life, but this captures the change in its essence. As always your words, photographs, and culinary developments are beautiful!

Hannah17/04/2013 - 10:54 pm

Laura I love your thoughts about food and what can make it comforting. It is an elemental comfort, a basic human need, and when we make it nurturing, we are actually getting at the real root of why it is comforting … Thanks for making me think about that, in this week when we all can use some comfort. xo

Caitlin18/04/2013 - 10:37 am

the only comfort food for me is the kind that warms and nourishes my body. if i feel awful, i make a huge bowl of veggie soup, salad, or stir fry. the more veggies, the better. i can’t wait to make this delicious and simple soup paired with socca, which happens to be one of my favorite things in the world ;)

Annie18/04/2013 - 1:24 pm

Simply beautiful and nourishing. This is exactly what I want today. It’s raining and partially snowing in Minnesota and I’m wishing for spring. This is going on my “to make” list.

Julia18/04/2013 - 3:14 pm

Wow this soup looks and sounds delicious. I’m a huge fan of garlic so I’ll definitely be making this.

Loren18/04/2013 - 6:08 pm

If you wanted to make a big pot of this and eat it throughout the week should you hold off on the greens until you are ready to eat it?Thanks for the recipe looks delicious!

Laura Wright19/04/2013 - 8:12 am

Hi Loren!
I’ve been eating leftovers from this just very simply heated up with scoops of brown rice + other add-ins. The greens won’t be AS vibrant green and a touch softer afterwards, but it’s still really tasty. As long as you use thicker/tougher greens, you should be all good :)
-L

Cheri Litchfield20/04/2013 - 5:54 pm

Just found your blog yesterday and I am so excited about every single beautiful picture and recipe. I want to try each and every one! Thank you thank you!

sarah22/04/2013 - 11:44 am

‘but when I think of comfort and an optimal self, I aim for renewal.’ Everyone of your posts has one sentence that completely cuts to my core, and challenges me. I don’t aim for renewal, and I need to work on that, asap. Thank you, Laura. I appreciate your voice so much.

hungryandfrozen23/04/2013 - 6:54 am

Oh my, this just makes me want to eat all the amazing comfort food there is. Also, I like that the chickpea batter can sit around for a bit, in case I’m slightly organised on one day and slightly organised on the second day, but not super organised on one whole day, y’know?

Riley23/04/2013 - 12:09 pm

Made this last night– just brilliant, and a great way to be introduced to kale– plus, your photography is GORGEOUS. Thank you, just. Wow.

Sara24/04/2013 - 9:28 am

I’ve been wanting to try socca for so long–I love chickpeas and I know I’ll love it. Great post!

Zach28/04/2013 - 11:12 am

Your photos are stunning and your recipes sound delectable. We would love for you to share them at thefeastingeye.com. The Feasting Eye is still a bit new, but I think you will like what you see :-).

Frances13/05/2013 - 8:39 pm

Eating this soup as we speak and it truly is amazing, yet so simple!!! I used lacinato kale and topped with some avocado. This is the first recipe I made off your blog and I look forward to exploring more. Thank you!

Ariadna23/05/2013 - 2:56 am

What you just made there is faina. You can order some at any self-respecting pizzeria in Argentina.

Laura Wright23/05/2013 - 6:46 am

Thanks for letting me know Ariadna :)

Rachel07/08/2013 - 5:28 am

YOU ARE AMAZING!

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