Saturday, November 10, 2007

Snow... and Soup!

Well it's been snowing this morning. Big, fat flakes... but they were doomed to melt as soon as they hit the ground. And that's the kind of snow I like--pretty as you please, and no accumulation! (Which means no shoveling. Yay!)

You can't see the snowflakes in this photo, unfortunately. But they're there! Really! Stupid cell-phone camera. These are the big trees behind my house. Years ago when these houses were built someone decided it was a good idea to plant a row of pine trees--and there they are. Tremendous. But aside from some sap & needles, the trees do insulate the house considerably from wind in the winter and sun in the summer.

So with all this cold weather--enough for the short snowfall here and there--I'm in soup mode. Today I made up a quick batch of lentil soup. This is my first try at using them, and it was super easy!

Lentil Soup

In a large skillet over medium heat, saute in olive oil:

1 medium onion, diced
2 carrots, diced

When onions are transparent, add:

3 cloves garlic, minced

Saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add:

pinch dried thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flake (optional)
1 small bay leaf
6 cups chicken broth (I used homemade low-salt broth)
1/2 pound lentils, carefully inspected and rinsed well
1/2 celery rib, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped pepperoni, or 1/2 cup chopped leftover ham

Yes, that's right. Plain old pepperoni. I buy it already sliced in a pillow-pack so I can make quick pizzas for lunch. And it's perfect for a little porky goodness.

Bring soup to a boil and cover; reduce heat to low and simmer 45-60 minutes, or until lentils are soft. Add:

1 tablespoon tomato paste or your favorite spaghetti sauce from a jar (that's what I used, optional)

Now is the fun part. I put in my stick blender to lightly puree the soup, for thickening and textural interest. I only whirled it around a few times--there are still chunks, but some is pureed. Serve steaming in mugs.

Dee-lish, and just right for sitting at the computer on a cold day! This big batch will keep me in soup lunches all week.

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