When you make beef bourguignon on a weeknight, you end up with a lot of time to kill while it’s in the oven. I ended up being really productive last night and used my two hours to prep Wednesday’s dinner — lumpia, also known as Filipino egg rolls — which is one of Noah and Julian’s favorite dishes. I had a batch of lumpia rolled up and ready to fry for dinner but as luck would have it, we experienced a 13 degree drop in temperature overnight — going from a warm 75 degrees to a chilly 62 (don’t laugh Kristin) — making Wednesday perfect soup weather. Also happening on Wednesday — Mark left for Singapore, meaning I could cook whatever I wanted to, and Smitten Kitchen posted a new recipe for lentil soup with sausage, chard and garlic. Quite possibly the best soup-making conditions I would have in a long time. So despite having dinner all ready to go, I ended up making the soup for me anyway. The soup had amazing flavor and depth — I could taste every layer of flavor in each bite — and despite being a hearty soup, it never felt heavy. It also felt like I was eating something healthy — not a bad combination. I don’t remember feeling this full in a long time. Definitely a keeper recipe for me.
makes about 60 3″ eggrolls as an appetizer, or about 4-6 servings as a main course
Note: This is a family recipe so all the amounts are approximate. It’s also a very basic recipe so substitute as you see fit — omit the shrimp, use a different type of ground meat, add a handful of chopped green onions, jicama, and/or water chestnuts…just to name a few examples that my mom has done in the past.
1 clove garlic
1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
1/2 lb. shrimp, peeled, deveined, and roughly chopped
1/2 lb. ground pork
1 Tbs. soy sauce
1 Tbs. oyster sauce (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Eggroll wrappers (I use 6″ square wrappers), separated
Vegetable oil for frying
Using a food processor, process the garlic until chopped. Add carrots and process until carrots are finely chopped. Add shrimp and process again until shrimp is minced. Add the ground pork, egg, soy sauce, oyster sauce (if using), and salt and pepper. Process until everything is well mixed. [If you are adding other ingredients, the general rule is to add ingredients in order of what needs more processing to least amount of processing. Jicama and water chestnuts, for example, don’t need too much processing or else they’ll get mushy so it’s usually best to add them right before the pork rather than at the very beginning.] To check seasoning, take a dime-sized portion of the filling and microwave it until fully cooked (30 seconds is normally enough). Taste it and adjust seasoning accordingly.
To wrap, beat the egg with about 1 Tbs. water. Lay the wrapper down on a flat surface and spoon or pipe a thin line of filling about one inch from the bottom. Roll tightly and use the egg wash to moisten and seal the end. Repeat until all the wrappers are used up. Egg roll wrappers come in different sizes. I usually use the 6″ square wrappers and then cut them in half after they’ve been rolled. If preparing ahead of time, cover the wrapped lumpia in plastic and refrigerate until ready to use. They also freeze well once they’ve been rolled.
To cook, these are traditionally deep-fried but shallow frying works as well. Pour enough oil in a pan to come up about 1/4″ and heat on medium-high. When the oil is hot and working in batches, add the lumpia, making sure to leave enough room that they aren’t touching each other. Cook until all sides are golden brown (about 3-5 minutes per side). Drain on paper towels and serve. I like to eat these as is, but you can also serve them with a sweet chili and plum sauce or with ketchup.
Lentil soup with sausage, chard and garlic
Serves 6 (I halved the recipe)
Source: Smitten Kitchen, who in turn adapted it from the book Secrets of the Best Chefs by Adam Roberts
Note: To make this vegetarian, she suggests omitting the sausage. And for a vegan version, skip the sausage and cheese. Easy as that.
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
4 large links of sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 medium onion, diced
2 celery stalks, sliced or diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into half-moons or diced
4 cloves garlic, sliced (reserve half for later in recipe)
A pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 cup brown lentils, sorted and rinsed
2 bay leaves
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
6 cups water
Freshly ground black pepper
3 to 4 cups shredded or thinly ribboned Swiss chard leaves or kale
Grated Pecorino Romano cheese to finish
Heat 1/4 cup olive oil (enough to coat bottom of pot) in a large pot on medium heat. When hot, add the sausage, breaking it up with a wooden spoon until it starts to brown, about five minutes. Add the onion, celery, carrots, first two garlic cloves, a pinch fo salt, and if you like your soup spicy, a pinch of red pepper flakes. Cook with the sausage until the vegetables soften a bit, another 5 minutes. Add the lentils, bay leaves, tomatoes, water, more salt and black pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook until the lentils are tender, about 40 minutes. (It might be necessary to add more water if the soup gets too thick, though we preferred ours on the thick side.)
When the lentils are cooked, add the chard and cook until the leaves are tender, just a few minutes more. Discard the bay leaves.
To finish, divide soup among bowls, then add the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil and 2 garlic cloves to a small skillet and heat over medium until the garlic softens and hisses. Drizzle this over soup bowls, and top with fresh Romano, passing more at the table. Leftovers will keep for several days in the fridge.