"Sit down and feed, and welcome to our table." -William Shakespeare

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Lentil Soup

Well, I hope you don't find recipe posts too boring... that's what I've been feeling like writing about these days. I've been experimenting a lot lately and loving my 'new' gas stove. I've been leaving other meals and snacks raw, but dinner has become interesting to me again with a nice stove to play on.

And while I realize not many people are experiencing soup weather, this one is so good, healthy, and cheap that you may want to bookmark it and come back to it in a few months. (I simmered this 3 hours on the stove with the kitchen window and back door open, which kept things perfectly cool. Not to rub it in or anything.)

1/4-1 lb msg-free, nitrate-free sausage, pork or turkey (optional)
2.5c lentils
1.5c barley
2T extra virgin olive oil
13c water
2t salt
1/4t onion powder
1/2t garlic powder
2" piece kombu (optional)
1c tomato sauce, pasta sauce, fresh blender-ed tomatoes, or 1 can diced tomatoes
dash tabasco-style sauce or pinch cayenne
1-4c fresh spinach or 1/2-2c frozen spinach, thawed and well-drained

Before you start, wash then soak 2.5c lentils and 1.5c barley. I'm using hulled barley, but pearled (what you'll find at the grocery store) is fine.

Next, brown your sausage in the evoo, if you're using it. Otherwise, I'd grab some fresh onion, garlic, zucchini, celery, etc. to saute in the oil; I's also add some spices like oregano and extra garlic powder to make up for the flavor you lose if you leave out the sausage.

I usually brown a pound or sausage and put away about 3/4 of it for an egg casserole later in the week. Remove from pan. Add 1c water and a touch more oil. Scrape bottom of pan to get all the drippings and incorporate them into the broth. My sausage is not very fatty, but if yours is, you may want to remove some of the fat before doing this.

Next, add your other 12c water. Broth, veggie, chicken, or beef, would be good, too. When it is near boiling, dump in everything else. (Don't skip the Tabasco or cayenne; the soup isn't spicy or hot but it will taste flat without it.) And simmer for 2-4 hours. You could also put it in the crockpot on high for a few hours, or low all day.

About 10-20 minutes before serving, add the spinach. I forgot to add mine, so I saved it for a big green bed-time snack smoothie.

This soup is a favorite of my husband's. He ate three and a half bowls. He even requested the leftovers for work lunches. And he's not big on soup.

"I had the blues
because I had no shoes
until upon the street,
I met a man who had no feet."
~Ancient Persian Saying

(You might notice all my quotes lately are about thinking positive and counting your blessings. That's because I feel a little homesick and a lot annoyed at the lack of conveniences in the little village town- ahem- where we are living.)

And just for fun
some photos Isaiah took while patiently waiting for me to do endless shopping in Santa Fe last week.
This was at Trader Joe's, a nearly perfect place to buy food,
other than being *%x#@ miles away from my house.

I am going through city withdrawal
but ya,
I s'pose it's worth it.

"A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely."
~Roald Dahl

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