Sunday, January 16, 2011

Lentil Soup with Chorizo

Lentils. They are tasty, filling, and wholesome and they can be used in a variety of ways. If you have been following my blog, you will know I bought a 5 lb sack of Palouse lentils last fall. Five pounds might seem like a lot to you, but it has lasted me until now and I still have half the bag left. I could of bought more for how useful they are. Buying in bulk pays off! It's cheap, convenient, and it stores well (allowing you to depend more on your pantry and less on the grocery store).

Last Sunday I made a big batch of lentil soup for the week. That way I could have it for dinner on Sunday but also each day for lunch. I hate packing lunches everyday. Therefore, making a big batch of lentil soup for the week helps keep me on track from deciding I am lazy and don't want to pack a lunch. When this happens, I end up eating out instead. My goal this year, is to find ways to minimize eating out just because I am too lazy to cook or prepare something ahead of time. I don't mind eating out every so often with family and friends on special occasions, it is fun. It's the eating out because I didn't go grocery shopping or because I woke up too late and didn't prepare something the night before scenario that I want to avoid. A lot of money can be saved through just planning ahead, like I did with this tasty lentil soup recipe.

The best thing about lentil soups? They are incredibly easy to cook and it's very difficult to mess up.

Lentil Soup with Chorizo

1.5 cups Lentils
1 Large Onion (Diced)
2 Cloves Garlic (Minced)
1 cup Carrots (Diced)
1/2 cup Celery (Diced)
Olive Oil
6 ounces Chorizo (Mexican Sausage)
2 quarts Chicken broth
2 Bay Leaves (Dried) Kosher Salt
Cracked Pepper
Sour Cream (optional)

Before you begin, chop everything. That includes the onion, garlic, carrots and celery. Heat a dutch oven (pot you are going to cook your soup in) on the stove. Add olive oil and minced garlic. Saute garlic for just 30 seconds and then add the onions. Cook the onions until they are translucent. Add the carrots and celery and cook until they are tender. Remove from the pan and set aside. In the same pan, add 1-2 tablespoons olive oil and the chorizo sausage (if you can, try and buy your chorizo from a local farmer. A farmers market or food co-op would carry it, otherwise you can buy it at your normal grocery store). Saute the chorizo for about ten minutes to ensure it is cooked through. Stir frequently. Add in the vegetable mixture, lentils, chicken broth, and the bay leaves. Simmer for 45 minutes to an hour or until the lentils are cooked. Taste before serving and season with salt and pepper if needed. Serve with a dallop of sour cream (optional). The spicy spices in the chorizo sausage give this soup a nice kick! Give it a try and enjoy a few meals out of it!

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