Monday, January 14, 2013

Cinnamon Lentil Soup for Dad + Low Iodine Diet

I am a firm believer that the broth makes the soup. If you use broth from a can or carton, your soup will not taste nearly as good as it will with a broth you made at home. Making broth at home costs a fraction of the price, too (provided you keep a well-stocked pantry). When I am not making my own broth from scratch, I use Better than Bouillon brand No-Chicken base or their reduced-sodium vegetable base. Both of the bottles list salt as an ingredient. As many of you know, as of today, my dad has to follow a strict low-iodine diet to prepare for his iodine radiation treatment. It's the final step to combat his thyroid cancer. This does not mean he cannot have salt - he can have all the salt he wants, just so long as it is not iodized or from the sea. Therein lies the problem with processed food - you never know whether the manufacturer has used iodized salt or sea salt! So, I created this tasty soup completely from scratch just for him.

Cinnamon Lentil Soup

2 cups dry brown lentils, rinsed
8-9 cups garlic cinnamon broth (recipe follows)
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and thickly sliced, plus some of the carrot chunks from the broth
1 stalk celery, chopped
mushrooms from the garlic cinnamon broth
1 bay leaf
1.5 teaspoons coriander (if using seeds grind them up in a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
8 grinds of a black pepper mill
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 large handfuls spinach
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1/2 - 3/4 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients in a soup pot, except for the last three, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, covered, for about an hour or until the lentils are tender. Turn off the heat and add the spinach, balsamic, and salt to taste.

Garlic Cinnamon Broth

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 zucchini, sliced
4 cremini mushrooms, quartered
2 small yellow onions, peeled and halved
2 green onions, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
1 stalk of celery, chopped
4 sprigs fresh thyme
4 sprigs fresh parsley
the cloves from one bulb of garlic (about 8), crushed with the flat side of a knife and peeled
6 whole peppercorns
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon agave nectar
10 cups water

Combine all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower to a simmer and allow to simmer, covered, for one hour. Allow to cool for 15 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into the pot in which you will make your soup. Reserve the mushrooms and carrots to add them back into the soup. Discard the rest of the vegetables.

For more information on a low-iodine diet see here:

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