Monday, October 18, 2010

Lentil Soup

When spring comes and warm weather arrives, I get excited because I can make delicious dinner salads.  But when fall comes and the price of fresh salad ingredients goes up, I don’t mind a bit because I can start making soup!!

Many of the soups I make call for onions, carrots, and/or celery.  These vegetables are usually very reasonably priced all year.  Add some dried lentils and chicken broth and you’ve got a super tasty soup that costs less than $1 per quart.  And continuing last week’s theme, it’s freezable!!

Yesterday we had some friends over for lunch after church.  I made it real easy on myself.  Two or three days before, I took two containers of lentil soup out of my freezer and put them in the fridge to thaw.  Before church, I just dumped them in the crock pot and left it to heat while we were gone.  We came home to piping hot lentil soup and a house that smelled delicious.  I served the soup over white rice, though it is excellent by itself.

Before pureeing 
Lentil Soup
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
2 large celery ribs, chopped
1 Tbsp. salt
2 lbs. brown lentils
2 large tomatoes, chopped (can be peeled if desired)
4 qts. water
¼ c. + 2 Tbsp. chicken bouillon
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
3 bay leaves

Heat vegetable oil in large stock pot over medium heat.  Add onion, carrots, celery, and salt; sauté until tender but not soft.  Add remaining ingredients, turn heat to high, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 40-45 minutes, or until lentils are soft.  Remove from heat.  Discard bay leaves.  Using an immersion blender, purée to desired consistency.  Yield:  5 qts. (2 lb., 5 oz.).  Total cost:  less than $5.00!


Crystal Malek said...

That looks yummy! I've been in the market for an immersion blender for sometime, but can't decide on a model. Can you share which one you have and why you love it? Thanks!!

Sumiko said...

Hi, Crystal!

I have a Braun 200 watt immersion blender similar to this one: Unfortunately, I don't think this particular model is available any more. It is on the cheaper end but feels very sturdy and works perfectly fine. I love that it came with a whisk attachment and food processor attachment. When I need to whip some cream and the mixer would be over kill, I just pull out the immersion blender and whisk attachment. I use the food processor attachment to chop nuts and make pesto. Basically, you don't need to spend a lot of money but look for quality and consider what attachments you might want.

StaceyN said...

We make a soup almost identical to that recipe, and we LOVE it! Only difference is that I use thyme instead of cumin, but I think I will try out cumin next time to give it a Mexican flare. I also add a little extra broth and throw in some whole wheat elbow macaroni when it is almost done cooking, so it is a complete protein (lentils plus wheat).

I just love lentils; they are so versatile. In fact, I just started blending them up in my homemade tomato soup to make it more of a meal and less of a side dish. Very yummy. Do you ever use the red or yellow lentils? I haven't because the brown ones are cheaper, but I would be curious to know the difference.

BTW, I CAN'T WAIT to try out your oven chimichangas. They look delish! Thanks for all the great ideas.

Crystal, I don't know if you live in an area where there are thrift stores, but I see immersion blenders there all the time. that's where I bought my last one. IMO, brand matters not if i can buy it for under $3!

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