Saturday, March 15, 2014

Lentil Soup

Last Thanksgiving my husband, Jay and I took a great 10 hour drive to visit family and friends back in Utah. It was great, but does anyone else feel kind of icky when you get back after eating so many rich foods? Maybe it's just Jay and me, but we're always ready for real food after a long car ride of travel snacks.
So I made sure I had this soup and some sausage in our freezer for when we got back on a Sunday evening. It microwaved while we unpacked the car and took a walk. My body was so happy with me for feeding it hot, healthy lentils.



pureed lentil soup with a biscuit

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Lentils are a legume, like beans, and they are high in fiber and protein. They don't take nearly as long to cook as beans and require no soaking! That makes this recipe come together quickly.


My Husband ate soup like this when he was in Chile. The lentil soup itself is very inexpensive and easily made vegetarian. Of course, he likes it with sausage slices in it--In fact I usually put a slice or two in mine as well.
The recipe makes 10 cups, so I make a big pot and then freeze half of it for another day.

Ingredients

1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced, about 2 cups
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 
1 medium tomato, diced
1 medium carrot, sliced
1 tablespoon ketchup or tomato paste
4 cups broth (beef, chicken, or vegetable)
1 cup lentils, washed and sorted*
1/4 cup dry bulgur wheat
12 ounces beef sausage roll (optional)

*Lentils are dried, so you want to submerge them in water in a bowl and throw out any that are shriveled or look different. Then just drain them and use them.

Directions

1) Saute diced onion in olive oil over medium heat for 7-9 minutes until  onion becomes clear. 

2) Add minced garlic, salt, red pepper flakes, tomato, carrot, and ketchup (or tomato paste). Cook 2-3 minutes more.
adding carrot, tomato, ketchup
3) Add broth (your choice of flavor--today I used half chicken and half beef), lentils, and bulgur wheat. 
Bring to a boil, and then turn down to low, cover and simmer 45 minutes to an hour, until lentils are tender. Stir every 10 minutes. If water level ever dips below the lentils, add more. 
soup
I added about 1/2 cup more water today since the wide mouth of my pot meant more evaporation.

4) Puree soup in a blender in batches. I use a ladle and fill my blender about half full for each batch and then put the soup in a new pot or dish.
Sometimes I put it in a crockpot until dinner.

5) Slice sausages into 1/2 inch pieces and pan fry over medium heat for 6-9 minutes, flipping halfway through until browned. Pat off excess grease.
cooking
5) Serve soup with a 2-4 slices of sausage on top.
My mother likes the soup plain, the vegetarian option. My 24-year-old little brother heaped his bowl with sausage and poured just a little of the lentil soup on top! 




Adapted from this recipe on Oldways.

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