Worldly Carrot & Lentil Soup… and the Loss of Our Ladies

Worldly Carrot and Lentil Soup…… this plant-based soup has been around the stalk. I would say it’s probably visited the United States, Thailand and India. It’s a well-travelled and diverse dish, full of hearty vegetables, protein-packed legumes, sweet coconut milk and international spices. Feel free to reduce the spices for a milder soup. I enjoy the depth of flavor from generous amounts of robust, warm spices.


Partaking in a rich, creamy, ping hot soup is deeply comforting. The soul and heart are warmed with each velvety bite.

Today is the type of day our family could benefit from some soup solace.


This morning, like every morning, I went outside to feed our chickens and gather their gorgeous green and brown eggs.  I was confronted with horror.


We call the six hens “Our Ladies.” The kids, Snu Magoo and Littlest Guy, adore them – even when they peck their feet and squawk, as hens do. The Ladies are all friends. It has been wonderful to see the clucking brood bond together in chicken camaraderie.

DSC_1250I walked outside into the brisk morning air. I noticed that the backyard gate and chicken coop were ajar – and  that red and black feathers and bright red blood covered the brown, winter grass.


The Ladies were decapitated. Their bodies dismembered and strewn across the yard. Sadly, this was the work of a person, not an animal. According to police and animal control, there have been a streak of “chicken murders” in our area of New Mexico. They are positive the perpetrator in our case is a person.


Who would do such a horrible thing to innocent creatures? A friend remarked, “If this is how they treat animals, I can’t imagine how they treat humans.”


We are heartbroken, shaken and devastated by such cruelty. It’s unfathomable.

We will miss The Ladies.


It’s time for a bit of stomach comfort in the form of soup. On a day like today, a wine pairing is absolutely in order. Dry, rich riesling – or buttery, oaky chardonnay – will compliment with the sweet carrot, hot curry and earthy lentils in the soup.


The soup comes together quickly. First, sauté the vegetables.


Then, add the tomatoes and tomato paste. Cook a bit more.


Add the lentils, stock and myriad spices. Simmer away.


Blend the soup until smooth.


Stir in the coconut milk…


… and devour piping hot.

Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with a slice of toasted, rustic bread.

I wish a healthy, happy and deeply fulfilling 2014 for each of you. L’Chayim!

Warmest regards,




Worldly Carrot & Lentil Soup (Vegetarian)

This recipe is loosely adapted from Trisha Loch’s Carrot-Led Lentil Soup.

Serves 8


2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

1 yellow onion, chopped

4 large celery stalks, sliced

1 tsp. each: ground cumin, coriander, ginger, fennel and salt-free curry powder

1/2 tsp. ground turmeric

2 tsp. fresh thyme, finely chopped

6 large garlic cloves, minced

2 large vine-ripened tomatoes, diced

2 Tbsp. double-concentrated tomato paste

4 cups sliced baby carrots

2 cups dried red, green or brown lentils, rinsed and sorted 

8 cups organic vegetable stock or chicken stock, according to your dietary preference

1 bay leaf

Sea salt and pepper

1 2/3 cups unsweetened light, coconut milk (from one 13.5 ounce can)

2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice

1 large beet, steamed, peeled and diced

fine salt and cracked black pepper, to taste

Chopped cilantro, to serve


  • In a large, heavy stockpot, melt the butter over medium heat.
  • Add the butter and the onion, celery and carrots. Allow to cook until the onion is translucent and the soft and the vegetables are fragrant.
  • Take care to stir occasionally. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add the minced garlic and cook for a two minutes more, stirring occasionally. 
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and tomato paste and cook for three more minutes, just until the tomato has softened.  
  • Add the lentils, spices, stock and bay leaf. Season again with salt and pepper.  
  • Cover and simmer for about 20-30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and the lentils are fully cooked and soft.  
  • Remove from the heat and discard the bay leaf. Add the diced beet.
  • Purée the soup with an immersion blender. Alternatively, purée in batches using a standing blender with the steam top removed.
  • Return the soup to the stove. Over low-heat, stir in the coconut milk.  
  • Reheat completely and re-season with additional salt and pepper, if necessary.
  • Serve in warm bowls. Garnish with fresh, chopped cilantro.


©Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward, (2014), unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author, Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward, and/or owner is strictly and completely prohibited.     ________________________________________________________________________


102 thoughts on “Worldly Carrot & Lentil Soup… and the Loss of Our Ladies

  1. I like all the different ingredients – some ideas to add to my soup next time.

    I’m sorry to hear about The Ladies. I was sure you were going to say foxes so to hear it was human vandalism is sickening.

    1. Denise,
      Let me know how you make this soup your own. It is fun to play around with spices.
      Yes, we are completely beside ourselves about The Ladies, especially my daughter. Thank you for your warm words.
      Best wishes,

  2. Oh Shanna – that is awful. Foxes are bad enough but for a person to do this is just barbaric. I am just speechless with horror. Sorry that your gorgeous kids had to see the carnage too. What a world we live in. Please stay safe x

  3. So sorry to hear about The Ladies. It was probably not an easy thing to explain to the little ones either. This soup looks wonderful. I love lentil soup with carrots and curry so this is right up my ally. It is indeed soup weather, I just got everything to try a new one this weekend too. Enjoy the soup and wine and weekend.

    1. Thank you, Susan. It is still sinking in. We were robbed when we first moved to this home – and now all of our animals have been killed. I doubt the police will get to the bottom of either matter… they are quite stretched in our city. I hope you try the soup. Let me know how it tastes – and how you make it your own. Nothing like hot food on a cold day. I appreciate your visit. Best wishes, Shanna

    1. Thank you, Liz. I appreciate your very thoughtful note. If you try the soup, let me know what you think – and how you “DeLiz-ify” it. 😉 I thought of making a tortilla Española in honor of our ladies, but I get teary every time I look at an egg. 😦 Best wishes, Shanna

  4. I’m so sorry to hear this! It’s heartbreaking and terrifying to think there are people in the world like this. 😦 Wishing comfort to you and your family. I hope the cops find this person and you all feel safe and peaceful in your home.

    This soup looks delicious—just what is needed on a cold day! I made a Cajun bean soup with cast iron cornbread for lunch today. It helped warm us up!

    Sending hugs your way and hoping tomorrow brings some sunshine-y news.

  5. I’m so sorry for the lost of your ladies! We raised chickens growing up and sometimes, we would find them dead in the morning from an animal attack. I could not imagine why a person would do this! Here’s hoping your day was warmed by your delicious soup.

    1. Ngan, I am sorry to hear about what happened to your chickens as a child. That must have been so hard to go through at that point in your life. I appreciate your warm comment so much. Have a great week, filled with only good things. Best wishes, Shanna

  6. Oh, Shanna — what terrible news. I can’t believe that someone would come into your yard and deliberately kill the helpless chickens. Your children must be confused and heartbroken. I certainly hope the police can find this person(s) and discipline them accordingly. So sorry for your loss. Keep us posted. I’m interested to hear the outcome.
    Take care– Linda

  7. So sorry to hear about The Ladies! That is so heartbreaking and scary awful. I hope if you have any other pets, they remain safe.

    We continue to think alike about food–I made a curried red lentil soup on New Year’s Day–spices somewhat different from yours–cinnamon, chili powder (a hot blend because we like hot, spicy food), paprika, and probably more cumin, turmeric, etc.and I throw in some fresh spinach at the end because I like the green contrast against the gold. And I like spinach. 🙂 Also, you inspired me to add fruit to a very bread recipe–I may still blog about it–but forgot to take photos. Haha.

    1. Thank you for your visit and kind note, Merril! I agree, we are on the same food wavelength at almost all times. 🙂 Your curried red lentil soup sounds just amazing. You may have to make it again just to post a tasty photo. Best wishes, Shanna

  8. So sorry to hear about The Ladies,Shanna. The person who did this must be sick…

    The soup sounds very good and appropriate, especially when it is -1 in the morning!

  9. Shanna, again I am devastated to hear the news about The Ladies. It’s horrifying to think how people can be so cruel. Whoever it is should read this post to realise how the act is so condemned.

  10. Shanna, I’m terribly sorry that The Ladies, who were a part of your family are no longer with you. Some people can be so cruel. It’s bad enough when strangers enter your yard and steal from you as someone did to us (all of our mangoes a couple of years ago) let alone harm innocent animals.

    1. Kiyo, very kind of you to say such comforting words. Thank you. I hope that you have a good week – and a happy one! I am sorry to hear about the horrible property theft you experienced. I believe in Karma – and that doing good things or bad things come back to a person. I am sure the universe handled the awful mango thieves accordingly. Best wishes, Shanna

  11. Wow, Shanna–I’m so sorry to hear about The Ladies! What a horrendous thing for someone to do…I hope whoever did it will get caught soon.
    Thank you for taking the time to share this delicious, comforting recipe despite what you’ve gone through!

  12. I just don’t understand the evil in some people…so very sorry about the girls. A nice glass of wine and a bowl of your soup had to be comforting after such a terrible incident.

  13. I’m still upset about the chickens! But listen I JUST made this soup for our Sunday lunch. I was all excited to have wine with lunch, because Shanna recommends it with the soup! As I began putting the soup together and really fully realizing how MANY wonderful, curative ingredients are in it, I started to forget about the wine. By the time I sat down to eat it, I totally FORGOT to pour the wine! This has never in my life happened to me. Forget about wine?? Blasphemy!! This soup is SOMETHING SPECIAL. I’m sure it has cured all my ills!!

    1. Dear Susan, I am beyond honored that you made this soup. What a LOVELY tribute to our fallen Ladies. Thank you. I am glad to hear that you enjoyed it! As for forgetting wine, I suppose it happens to the best of us. Maybe better to have coffee with lunch anyway, haha. Thank you for your very kind words – much appreciated. Warmest regards, Shanna

      1. Thank you, Susan! I am so glad! I made the soup this weekend. However, I changed the spices a bit, including adding a bit of smoked paprika in place of the curry – and also added roasted cauliflower. 🙂 Take good care – Shanna

      2. Oh wow. Yes I can see how you can easily change things around and the soup will still be delicious. Before this, I would have said gazpacho is my favorite soup. Now this. Maybe gazpacho in hot weather, this in cold 🙂

      3. Oh, of course. I am such a huge fan of Ina Garten. In my next life, I will test her recipes and edit her cookbooks. 🙂 She’s just amazing. Thanks for the recipe! I bet the “good” olive oil really shines in this soup.

    1. Oh, no, Michelle. I am sorry to hear about the passing of your chickens. I suppose that it is hard whether an animal or a mammal takes a chicken. Best wishes for a lovely week for you and yours! – Shanna

    1. Thank you, Sheryl. Sadly, I don’t think the police care about our chickens. We will probably not get any more “Ladies” until we leave New Mexico in about a year! Have a nice day – I appreciate your visit. Best wishes, Shanna

  14. I am so sorry about your poor hens. I live in ABQ, and recently got into chickens. Shortly before I heard the first story about the chicken massacres, I came home one day to find the roof ripped off of my run and the chickens running loose in my yard, with my three dogs. Two of the three chickens survived that, but I have suspicions about what would have ripped the roof off the run and tossed the chickens to to the dogs. I thought somebody just tried to do a little chickennapping and got surprised by the guard dogs, but now I wonder if they were up to something even worse. I am so sorry that such a horrible thing happened to your sweet ladies.

  15. oh my, poor Ladies! How cruel, Shanna!These are bad news…Your friend said a right thing, such heartless people! However .. you know that I love soups. Every kind. This with lentils seems to have a really delicate taste.I’ll have to give it a try! Xoxo Cris

    1. I love soups, too, Cris. Love, love, love! Especially puréed recipes. 🙂 Thank you very much for your warm, kind words – and for taking time to visit. I hope that you have a great week. Warm wishes, Shanna

  16. I can’t believe what I’ve just read about the Ladies!!! So terribly sorry about that… Who in their right mind would perpetrate such a contemptible proof of savagery?
    BTW, the soup looks amazing; I love lentils and spices. And that slice of rustic bread! Just the perfect combination.
    Warmest wishes,
    PS green eggs??? Wow…

    1. Thank you so much, Rosa, for your very kind words about the chickens. It was shocking, to say the least. As for the soup, I do hope that you give it a go. The recipe is quite versatile – you can play with the spices and even add an extra, roasted vegetable of your choice before you purée. As for the bread, I am sure that you have some amazing breads in your house. Spain has some great bread; I always picked up suizos and pan integral when I lived in Madrid. Take good care, Shanna P.S. Green Eggs, yes! Like the book, Green Eggs and Ham! 😉

  17. I’m sorry about your chickens!…And for the soup, it looks delicious. I love to discover hearty soups in winter 😉

  18. Oh Shanna! How horrible! I just cannot believe it. Who would do such a horrid thing! I hope they get caught and something horrid is done to them. What are the animal cruelty laws like down there? Your kiddies must be so sad! Gosh, I almost forgot about your delicious soup! Worldly indeed! I will definitely try this. 😦

    1. Hi, Lidia… Truly, it has been heartbreaking. There are some animal cruelty laws in place here – they are enforceable IF the individual is caught on tape or by the police. We are going to install infrared cameras around the outside our entire house (if we get new Ladies / chickens). I appreciate your very kind words – about the Ladies and the soup. I have been eating a lot of soup lately; it is oddly comforting. And delicious. Warmest wishes to you and yours! – Shanna

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Allison. I was trolling your blog today. It is outstanding – the writing and the recipes and the photos. Really unique and delicious. You have an excellent worldview of food. Warm wishes, Shanna

  19. I loved the way you describe the soup, Shanna, “Worldly soup” I would never have thought of that! And the story about your ladies was very moving and tragic! I can’t believe you included both topics in the same post though! (How could you??) But we had a similar thing back in Christchurch where for a time there was this serial “pets mutilator” who went around and killed and mutilated people’s bunnies, and I think a puppy as well. That is VERY shocking! I thought the same thing about what kind of a dangerous person that is to be able to hurt unknowing animals… It is quite scary. Please take care! P.S. what did your sons think??

    1. Thank you so much, Izzy. Your comments are always so kind. I appreciate your support and your fantastic feedback, great questions and stories. As for the pet mutilators in your end of the world, that is incredibly sad and tragic. I am a bit naive – maybe too positive – and am still shocked by the cruelty in the world. My kids were shocked and upset – however, we did not tell them the entire story. They are very young. Have a great week + hope your school is going well. Best – Shanna

      1. Thanks for your well-wishes too, Shanna! Horrible cruelty is being committed to animals today, and it is a part of why I became a vegan. However, I realized a similar level of humanity is also being directed towards fellow humanbeings too. I guess the best thing we can do for now is be happy, kind to others and spread the joy to people around us!

  20. I’m so sorry for all of you, Shanna. What a horror—and yes, people who will do such things to animals are famously inclined to be dangerous to other humans in equally awful ways. That really *does* call for comfort soup. A lovely one here. Soup—and big hugs from me to all of you.

  21. Oh my goodness. I had to read through your story twice just be sure I read what I thought I had read. I’m sorry your family had to experience this. Absolutely awful. I can see why preparing such a comforting soup would be in order. It’s just beautiful, Shanna. I would love to prepare this at the beginning of the week and just have a bowl for lunch for a few days.


  22. The soup looks wonderful. The fate of your hens is deplorable. So sorry! I hope they catch the person responsible. I can’t imagine the motive. All the best – Sharon

  23. Wow! It seems like the person responsible for this horrible incident has gone mad. It must have been terrifying for y’all.

    The soup by the way sounds so healthy and delicious, Shanna. I hope all is well.

  24. Omg Shanna, what a terrible incident about the ‘Ladies’. Leaves me feeling cold and scared and perhaps even angry. What is the world coming to? Why would someone want to hurt such innocent creatures. I am so sorry because I know the way kids get attached to animals and pets. I hope you’ve all recovered from the terrible incident. But it’s certainly almost impossible to forget such an incident.
    The soup sounds very tasty. Lentil soup is one of my favourite soups. I make it at least once a week and usually vary the ingredients I add, but never miss to add coconut milk. Thanks for sharing and keep safe. My best wishes to your family and once again, sorry for whatever happened! Best..Liz

    1. Hi, Liz. Thank you so much for your warm and kind words. We are still wondering if we should get more chickens. Would we be inviting trouble? It is sad that one must fear such things. Stay warm up there in Canada! Best, Shanna

      1. Has it been happening to other people around you? It’s so perplexing. Maybe you need to wait? I’m still baffled!

  25. I’m so sorry to hear about the Ladies that’s just horrible. Did they find out who it was in the end? I grew up with chickens and know how lovely they are and last summer went ‘glamping’ and hired a coop and two chickens for a week for my kids and they adored them to bits so I can only imagine how it was for your children. Will you get more eventually? X

    1. Thank you for your kind words and sharing your childhood memories of chickens! They sound so sweet. We never found out what happened, but there is now a neighborhood coalition formed, as this has happened to others. I don’t think we will get more chickens until we move to another state. Have a great weekend! – Shanna

  26. Oh, no! Sorry to here about this! Hope they catch the culprit! You’re right… if this person does this to chickens, I can only hope the reason is because she/he was taking it out on the chickens instead of actual people. Either way…still a horrible person!

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