Monday, October 21, 2013

Homemade Saturday: Lentil Soup

Right, so I know it's Monday already, and it may not be a great idea to start something new, late.  But I was busy on Saturday, and while I got this started I didn't find the time to finish it.  So, without further ado, here is the first Homemade Saturday post... on Monday.

This time of year, when the wind starts shifting to the north, the geese start flying south, the temperature starts dropping, and the possibility of snow rising, my ideas for lunches become more and more along one track.


There is something so comforting, homey, filling and cozy about a warm bowl of soup (especially when sitting beside a piece of warm bread which is buried in homemade butter)  One of our more recent favorites, and one of the quickest to do when it's 11:00 and you need to think about lunch is Lentil Soup.  I LOVE lentils.  And was delighted when our friend and neighbor sent in this recipe to the children's paper that I edit.  I tried it, fell in love with it, adopted and adapted it to be my own, and made it as often as I possibly could!

1. First things first.  Melt a 1/4 cup of fat in a pot.  This could be anything from, butter, bacon fat, or chicken fat.  The last being my favorite.
2. Add 1 finely chopped onion, and 2-3 garlic cloves minced.  Saute until quite soft.  I enjoy the flavor, not the crunch.

3.  Next the important part.  Your Lentils.  Now I am a bit of a lentil snob.  Any lentil would do for this recipe, green, red, big little. BUT. I love french green lentils.  Don't even ask me why, I just do.  So, while your vegetables are sauteing you should sort and rinse your lentils.  Now, I have never done this, and have punished my family with little gritty stones in their soup...
Your amount of lentils depends on how thick you like your soup.  I like to stick to around 3 cups.

4.  Once your vegetables are soft enough add the lentils, 8 cups of broth (chicken or turkey), water would work too, but I like the richness the broth lends. Then add 1 tsp of cumin.

5.  Simmer your soup for 30 minutes or so (when I was rushed I was able to do it in 20) until your lentils are tender, and your soup is beginning to thicken.

6.  These next additions are optional but delicious! Greens: Spinach is a wonderful option and if it isn't the season for fresh, organic frozen works well, Swiss Chard is also wonderful, and anything else like it.

7.  Meat: Turkey Sausage is my personal favorite (our homemade) but you can also use ham (as I did this time) bacon, or any other meat you think will work.

8. Throw in your greens and meat, then add 1/4 cup of lemon juice (this is essential to the flavor) 2-3 tsp of salt (I never measure, it's just to taste) and plenty of pepper.

Taste, serve and enjoy!!


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