29 December 2010

Chunky Lentil Soup and Homemade Broth

Chunky Lentil Soup.

This Chunky Lentil Soup is from the cookbook Super Natural Cooking (I found a link to the recipe on another blog here). I love this book because the recipes are healthy, delicious, and easy to prepare. I probably cook out of it at least once a month.

When I made this soup a couple of weeks ago I tweeted this:

Hilarity ensued, with people wondering, what is this chucky lentil soup? Did the bride of Chucky make this? Why do you want to marry it? I shake my fist at you sometimes, twitter! It was pretty funny though.
Now back to soups. When I make soups from recipes I tend to follow them loosely, quantities are not really set in stone. You have 5 cups of homemade broth when the recipe calls for 3 cups? Why waste it? Use it all.

When it comes to soups, heck, when it comes to pretty much all cooking, I'm also a heavy spicer. I almost never measure the spices out, I just eyeball them with a few pinches, dashes, shakes, what have you. I also used regular ol' lentils because that is what I had. This is also a good idea, especially from a frugal standpoint. You don't need to go out and buy some special ingredient when you can replace it with something already in your kitchen.

Homemade Broth
Have I mentioned my easy way for making homemade broth? It's not rocket science, it's actually pretty easy. Basically whenever you use veggies, instead of throwing things away, things like the ends of carrots, the outer layers of onions and the ends, the garlic that is left in the press after you smash it, the tops of celery, potato peels, etc.throw them it in a little zip lock bag or reusable container and toss it in the freezer.

This also works for chicken, if you buy a whole chicken, toss the bits from the inside that you usually cringe and just throw in the trash, with the back and what ever other pieces you don't use into the freezer. You get the idea.

When things start falling out of the freezer every time you open the door, its time to make stock.Grab your big pot or dutch oven, toss in a bunch of veggies and/or chicken bits, fill with water till covered, add a few of your favorite spices, peppercorns and a few pinches of salt, bring to a boil and then simmer for a few hours. Strain and use, or put in the fridge or freezer for later. So delicious and frugal!

Bottom line, don't be afraid to veer off the road a bit! Make homemade soup. Use what you have. Eat. Enjoy. Clearly tasty.

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