Friday, November 19, 2010

Lentil-Rice soup and homemade broths

This lentil soup is savory! My 4 yr. old exclaimed, "I love the broth!" She ate all of the soup really well- lentils, rice, carrots, and broth. My 3 yr old took out the celery : ) but ate the rest.

Like I mentioned in my "Many Beans Soup," I don't use recipes when I cook bean soup, so something may be different each time. Even the broth base I use depends on what I have on hand and if there's something I want to use up in the fridge or freezer.

Here's a diversion from the lentil soup about homemade broths:

I often save liquid from meats and from steaming vegetables. If I think I have a use for it in the next couple days, I keep it in the fridge. Sometimes I just freeze it. These liquids can be frozen in freezer containers or in ice cube trays and then freezer bags. Sometimes I end up dumping it out- if it's been in the fridge and I haven't used it. It's nice, to me, though, to use vegetable water whenever possible, because there are good water-soluable vitamins in the liquid that I don't want to miss out on.

As far as vegetable water goes, you can use it instead of regular water whenever you need to cook something with water. Potato water is especially helpful in making non-dairy gravy or sauces- it has more flavor dimension than regular water. You can make a good meat stock or vegetable stock that's flavorful for soups, sauces, or gravies. Basically you just boil a meat bone, with some meat left on it, with various herbs/seasonings, for several hours. The vegetable stock I remember you can brown the vegetables for more flavor, then I think you boil them in water. You can look up recipes for stock if you're interested. Right now I like conveniently keeping the meat juices and vegetable water that I have just from my everyday cooking, and using them.

Now to the savory Lentil-Rice soup:

Broth- this time I used hamburger broth from the fridge- about 1 cup, and also about 1/4 cup chicken broth. I add these liquids in a measuring cup, then added water up to the 4 cup line.

I had recently cooked big batches of hamburger meat to put in the freezer. I had seasoned the hamburger with salt, onion, garlic, and pepper. I poured off the juices and fats into a glass jar. When cooled a bit, I set it in the fridge. When all the way cooled, the juices and fats separated. When I wanted broth for my soup, I just scraped off the fat and threw that away. I had about 1 cup of flavorful liquid left. The chicken broth was simply juice poured off from cooking chicken thighs or drumsticks with season-all. The fat had separated from the liquid so I could scrape off the fat and discard. I think I left just a bit of fat- I didn't scrape it off thoroughly- for a bit of flavor.

salt- about 1 tsp.
lentils- about 1/2 cup.
celery, chopped
bay leaves- 2 medium
pepper to taste

Simmer until tender. Then add rice that has already been cooked.

No comments: