Thursday, October 12, 2006

Lentil and Brown Rice Soup

This is my favorite kind of meal. It's delicious, it's simple, it makes lots to freeze (and reheats beautifully), it makes your house smell wonderful, and it's healthy to boot. From Gourmet magazine via, which I think is hands down the web's best recipe source. I've made a few changes.

5 cups chicken broth
3 cups water
1 1/2 cups lentils, picked over and rinsed
1 cup brown rice
28 oz can chopped tomatoes
3 carrots, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk of celery, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried basil
1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried orégano
1/4 teaspoon crumbled dried thyme
(or, as I prefer, add a bunch of the above herbs, fresh, at the end of cooking-or do a little dried during, a litte fresh at the end)
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley leaves or cilantro
1 lb smoked sausage (the low fat turkey is good in this)
2 tablespoons cider vinegar, or to taste
hot sauce, to taste, if desired

In a dutch oven or other heavy kettle, combine the broth, 3 cups water*, the lentils, the rice, the tomatoes with the reserved juice, the carrots, the onion, the celery, the garlic, the basil, the orégano, the thyme, and the bay leaf, bring the liquid to a boil, and simmer the mixture, covered, stirring occasionally, for 45 to 55 minutes, or until the lentils and rice are tender. Stir in the parsley, the vinegar, and salt and pepper** to taste and discard the bay leaf. The soup will be thick and will thicken as it stands. Thin the soup, if desired, with additional hot chicken broth or water.

If using sausage, slice into small half circles and cook in nonstick pan until brown. Add to soup near end of cooking time.

*I used chicken "Better Than Boullion", which I think is better than the canned broth, though not as good as homemade. So, 8 cups water and a little less than 2 tablespoons of BTB. I might actually reduce the boullion next time; I love salt, but this was a little too salty.
**The soup was plenty salty, as mentioned above, and I added no extra salt.

Makes about 14 cups, serving 6 to 8. The recipe makes quite a bit; eat for dinner that night and freeze the rest, if you'd like. Excellent with a good crusty brown bread. It's very thick-more stew like than soup-like, but I liked it that way.

Kid factor: My daughter was ambivalent about this, but had burned her tongue when first tasting so was very resistent to trying it again. We'll serve it to her again from the freezer and see how it goes.

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