Thursday, April 12, 2012

Soup For A Busy Day

There are days when you need something easy to do in the kitchen. A crockpot soup might be the way to go. This lentil soup was quick to put together. My only problem was that I only had a 3-1/2 qt. pot and the recipe called for a 4 to 5 quart pot. (I had destroyed my bigger one not long ago.) The recipe was right. My little pot didn't quite hold all of the broth.

The most time consuming part was picking over the lentils. But don't skip this part. I found a tiny pebble in the next-to-last handful that I looked at. How do you "pick over" lentils? Just pour a small amount into your hand and look them over before you put them in the measuring cup. I remember my mother doing this with dried beans.

I ended up moving it all to a large pot on the stove at the end when I added the Canadian bacon and then added the rest of the broth. This recipe says to cook it for 6 hours on Low, then add the bacon. After I got everything into the pot, I realized I was not going to be home six hours later, so I cooked it for  three hours on High, then moved it to the larger pot and finished it up on the stove. Nice to know it works that way, too. 

It made almost three full quarts. I put two quarts in the freezer for another busy day. Sent one quart home with Jessica when she went back last weekend. The frozen soup also helped keep her leftovers cool!

Slow Cooker Lentil Soup

2 medium carrots, peeled & cut into slices
2 medium celery stalks, cut into large slices
1 medium onion, cut into chunks
2 medium garlic cloves, minced (I used jarred mince garlic)
2 cups dry lentils, picked over
3 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
8 cups canned chicken broth
4 or 5 slices Canadian bacon, cut up (I used a whole package which had 6 slices)

Place ingredients in the 4-to-5 quart clow cooker in the following order: carrots, celery, onion, garlic, lentils, bay leaves, thyme, salt, pepper, broth.
Cover slow cooker and cook on LOW for 6 hours.
Uncover, stir in bacon and heat for 30 minutes more. REMOVE BAY LEAVES.

Serves 8 (1-1/2 cup per serving)

I really liked this soup. (My husband--who does not care for soup or lentils--didn't.) Lentil soup is never pretty, but a bowl of this hot soup is comforting on a cool day. (I like soup year around.) If you like lentil soup, this is a good recipe.

Any time I use bay leaves in a recipe I am reminded of a favorite story from years ago. I took a pot of spaghetti sauce to my mom and dad and left it with them for their supper. Later when I was back home, my mother called and hesitantly asked, "Did you by any chance have the lid off the pot when you walked from the driveway to the front door? We found a leaf in the spaghetti sauce and wondered if it was from our oak trees." They had obviously had some discussion about whether it was safe to eat. When I told her it was a bay leaf, she said, "I TOLD your dad you'd probably done something fancy." 

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