Sunday, October 3, 2010

Lentil Soup made with Homemade Lamb Stock

I've been wanting to make homemade lentil soup for ages.  Lentils are high in protein and low on the glycemic index, so not only is this soup hearty and delicious, it's also pretty healthy.   One of my co-workers brought me in her mom's lentil soup and she told me that her mom starts by making beef stock.  After making the Lamb Shank and Tomato Tangine, I had lamb bones leftover, so I decided to try a variation on the beef based soup and make mine with lamb stock.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
6 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 pound lentils, picked and rinsed
1 cup peeled and chopped tomatoes
2 quarts homemade stock with fat removed (leave veggies and lamb)*
1 1/4 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground toasted cumin
1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/3 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
*see below for lamb stock recipe

I don't have a spice grinder, so I crush my coriander seeds with a mortar and pestal

These seasonings are so fragrant

It's very important to rinse lentils thoroughly and pick out any bad ones

Place the olive oil into a large 6-quart Dutch oven and set over medium heat.  Once hot, add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic and salt and sweat until the onions are translucent, approximately 6 to 7 minutes.

Add the lentils, tomatoes, broth (with veggies and meat included), oregano, coriander, cumin and lemon pepper and stir to combine.

Increase the heat to high and bring just to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook at a low simmer until the lentils are tender, approximately 35 to 40 minutes.  

Stir in parsley.  Season the soup, to taste, with salt and pepper.  Ladle the soup into bowls and serve immediately.  Keeps in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Instructions for Making Meat Stock (in this case, Lamb Stock)
(I only had about 2lbs of marrow bones so I split the recipe below in half and it was just under the perfect amount for my lentil soup recipe.)

Approximately 4lbs prepared marrow bones
2-3 large carrots peeled and cut into chunks
2 large onions, quartered
3 celery stalks, cut into pieces
2 bay leaves
1 handful parsley stalks, chopped
3-4 sprigs of thyme (pull the small leaves off of the stalk; dispose of stalk)

Place all ingredients in a large saucepan or stockpot, cover with about 10 cups water and simmer gently for 3-4 hours.  

You have two options here.  For traditional stock, you strain this into a pan and allow to cool.  For soup or for the base soup used in my lentil soup recipe above, leave in the bones and veggies, and allow to cool.

For both, you will need to chill the stock in the fridge for several hours until the fat congeals on top.  Using a spoon, remove fat.  When you are ready to use, bring stock to room temperature.  Remove bones and discard.

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