Monday, January 7, 2013

Lentil Soup X 3

One of my favorite soups is lentil soup. If you have not had lentils, you are missing out on a great treat.  I’m sharing my own recipe first and then will share two others with different twists.  On a cold winter’s day it will hit the spot if you are in need of something warm, nutritious and tasty. 

5 links of sweet or mild Italian sausage (take sausage out of casing)
1 package of dried lentils
1 sweet onion
1 tbsp. of chopped garlic
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. of salt
1/2  tsp. pepper
1 package of frozen kale (I freeze my own) or fresh kale
1 quart beef broth

Prep Work 
Soak the lentils in water over night to soften them.  Rinse and drain well. 

Chop your onion and garlic and set aside.

Heat a large pan with olive oil on medium heat.

Take your sausage out of the casings or Fareways sells bulk Itialian sausage to make it easier on yourself.

Sauté  the onion for 5 minutes.  Add garlic and sauté for 1 minutes.    Add sausage broken up and brown.  Drain off any grease through a strainer.  Add the beef broth, salt, and pepper.  Add the drained lentils and kale.  Simmer for an hour or until the lentils are soft.  Make sure there is plenty of broth or liquid on the lentils, sausage and kale mixture.  You can add water as the soup needs it.  Check to see if it needs more salt and pepper for seasoning.  When you serve, you may top with grated Parmesan cheese.   I serve it with saltine crackers but it is good with a crusty piece of bread or garlic toast.

Variation -  If you like spicy food you may use hot Italian sausage. 

Tip -  To skim the fat off the top of your soup or stew without having to wait for the dish to cool, try this time-saving tip: Set a big, tender leaf of lettuce on top of the liquid for 30 seconds or until the leaf wilts. Remove and repeat with a fresh leaf if necessary. The lettuce will soak up surface fat like a sponge so you can enjoy a healthier version.

Filipino (Pinoy) Style Lentil Soup

This is a Philippine recipe much like the lentil soup I make but it has tomatoes and soy sauce in it.  I like this as much as mine and I always love to try a new dish from another country.  

1 Tbsp olive oil
5-6 crushed garlic cloves
2 medium size onions, chopped
1 lb Italian sausage
3 cups of stewed tomatoes
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 ½ cups dried lentils
5 cups of water
1 (10 oz) bag of spinach

Heat the olive oil in a deep pan. Sauté the garlic and onions until the onions are tender about 3 to 4 minutes.  Brown your sausage and drain all the grease. 

Stir in the tomatoes and soy sauce. Season the soup with salt and pepper and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes.  Taste and salt a little at a time tasting each time since you have added soy sauce with makes salty.

Rinse the lentils and drain. Add the lentils and water (or if you want more flavor add broth of your choice) to the sausages and vegetables and bring to a boil.  Turn heat down and simmer covered for about an hour or until lentils are tender.  You may add water if it is getting too thick.

Add the spinach (or kale) and cook just until it's wilted.   Taste again and adjust seasoning to your taste. Serve hot.  

Lentil Soup III

And my third lentil soup adds bacon and you know it has to be tasty with bacon.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cleaned and chopped leeks (you may substitute an onion if you can't find leeks)
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons dried oregano leaves
12 slices of bacon cut into pieces
1 ½ cups dried lentils
5 cups of water
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 14.5 oz can crushed tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh basil leaves for garnish

Prep Work
Chop your bacon into small pieces.

Chop your leeks in half and rinse well to make sure there is no grit.  Chop them into small pieces.

Chop your garlic cloves.

Pre-soak, rinse and drain lentils.  This speeds up the cooking process.

Heat olive oil over medium heat in large saucepan. Add in leeks, garlic, oregano and bacon pieces. Cook for about 10 to 15 minutes until bacon is browned and leeks are tender.

Add lentils, diced tomatoes and crushed tomatoes and water into saucepan and stir together. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil over high heat. Once soup reaches a boil, reduce heat and let soup simmer until the lentils are done. Taste your creation and season more if necessary.

Serve in bowls and if you wish garnish with more bacon and fresh basil leaves on top.

Save these recipes and try all 3 this winter.  Let me know what your favorite one is. Play around with them and use what ever ingredients appeal to you.  You can add meatballs or chicken to you recipe.

Tomorrow Churros Cheesecake recipe I'm taking to a luncheon.

Be happy, keep warm and may God bless you and yours.  

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