Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Small and Mighty Lentil

Yes, I do believe that kids can eat and like lentils.  Before you dismiss my claim, you might want to try and cook a good recipe of Lentil Soup before you make your decision.  I don't care for the canned lentils.  Good old fashioned Lentil Soup only takes about 35 min from start to mouth.  Here is my youngest daughter eating her lentil lunch.

Their are at least 50 varieties of lentils that are sold, but my favorite are the brown and green.  They hold there shape well when cooking.  The red variety cooks quicker but tends to get mushy if it is over cooked.  For me lentils keep me full longer.  It is a great way to ward off overeating.  It is simple to make and takes very few ingredients.

Lentil Soup

2 T. olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic
1/2 onion
1 large carrot
1-2 large celery stalks (leaves included)
2 c. Lentils brown or green
32 oz Chicken or vegetable broth
Plus about 1 c. water while cooking if needed

optional ingredients that make it mighty tasty:

1 small ham hock
small sprig fresh rosemary

I saute in olive oil, the chopped garlic, onion, carrot and celery for 2-3 min.  I add the rest of the ingredients an bring to a boil then turn down to med. low.  The lentil soup cooks in 20-25 min.  It depends on how soft or hard you like your lentils.  If you don't have ham, you will need to add some salt.  Before serving salt and pepper to taste.

I usually make my own chicken stock, but have been short on kitchen time lately.  I decided to try this vegetable broth from the store.  It gave the soup a depth of flavor that water can't do on its own.  I am inspired to try and make my own vegetable broth.  If you have any tips or tricks, please leave a comment regarding broth.

What I love about Lentil Soup is that it is a hearty, stick to your bones kind of soup.  It tastes great to me all fall, winter and into early spring.  It is hard to mess it up if you start with a good stock and good ingredients.  For meat lovers, this soup is excellent with sausage or bacon.  It cooks up so quick, it is hard to imagine having an excuse to not try this one.  Hopefully, my convincing skills will allow you to give lentils a try. If not, I hope you still eat well, live well, and make healthy choices.

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